image captionAdnan Ahmed was convicted of five counts of threatening and abusive behaviour towards young women
A so-called pickup artist who was jailed for targeting young women has had his conviction quashed on appeal.
Adnan Ahmed – who called himself Addy A-game – secretly filmed himself approaching women in Glasgow and South Lanarkshire.
The 39-year-old was convicted last October of threatening and abusive behaviour towards five women.
But three judges at the Court of Criminal Appeal have now ruled the verdict was a miscarriage of justice.
Police Scotland launched an investigation after his actions were revealed by the BBC’s The Social in 2019.
The self-styled “lifestyle coach” would approach women in the street, often secretly filming the encounter and posting videos offering advice to other men.
In the videos, he offered tips on how to overcome “last-minute resistance” to sex.
Mr Ahmed also included audio apparently recorded during sex.
Five young women, aged between 16 and 21, gave evidence at his trial – saying that they been intimidated by Mr Ahmed in Glasgow city centre and in Uddingston, South Lanarkshire.
After a jury found him guilty, Sheriff Lindsay Wood sentenced Mr Ahmed, of Maryhill, Glasgow, to two years in prison.
He was also put on the sex offenders register for 10 years.
But lawyers acting for Mr Ahmed told the Court of Criminal Appeal earlier this year that Sheriff Wood conducted an inappropriate “cross examination” of their client when he finished giving evidence.
Defence advocate Claire Mitchell QC said the questions asked by Sheriff Wood to Mr Ahmed “would have led the independent observer to reach the view that the sheriff had formed an adverse view of his credibility”.
She added that Sheriff Wood’s conduct resulted in her client being denied a fair and impartial trial.
Lord Turnbull wrote: “The trial sheriff engaged in an exercise which could only be described as cross-examination.
“The informed and impartial observer would readily have concluded that the sheriff had formed an adverse view on the credibility of the appellant’s evidence.
“The result was a miscarriage of justice and the appeal against conviction on each charge must be upheld on this ground.”
image captionAdnan Ahmed, appearing here in one of his online videos, claimed they were educational
A BBC investigation into Mr Ahmed’s activities revealed he was part of a global network of “pick-up artists” who practise what they call “game”.
YouTube has since removed hundreds of videos and deactivated two channels run by Addy A-Game and another group called Street Attraction.
Mr Ahmed’s legal team also told the appeal court that Sheriff Wood failed to properly explain the rules of corroboration to jurors in the case.
Ms Mitchell also told the court that the sheriff was wrong to reject a defence motion to have some of the charges thrown out on the basis that there wasn’t enough evidence to allow jurors to return guilty verdicts.
In his report to the appeal court, Sheriff Wood said he believed there was enough evidence on these charges to be considered by the jurors.
But the judges disagreed and said the evidence did not show that Mr Ahmed was guilty of threatening behaviour.
Lord Turnbull wrote: “It does not seem to us that a polite conversational request or compliment can be construed as threatening merely because it is uninvited or unwelcome.”
The appeal judges also criticised Sheriff Wood for his actions when Mr Ahmed’s lawyers attempted to object to the questions asked by the judge.
Sheriff Wood told Mr Ahmed’s representative to sit down.
Lord Turnbull wrote: “In the present case counsel was correct to object to the sheriff’s questioning when she did.
“It is unacceptable for a judicial office holder to address a responsible practitioner by telling her to sit down.
“Such behaviour carries the risk of demeaning the standing of the judiciary in the eyes of both the legal profession and of the public.”