Ali Dizaei, one of Britain’s most senior police officers, has been jailed for four years for framing an innocent businessman to settle personal score.
The Metropolitan Police commander engaged in a “wholesale abuse of power for personal motives” after he rowed with website developer Waad Al-Baghdadi, 24.
Dizaei owed the victim £600 for a personal website he had designed for him.
When Mr Al-Baghdadi asked the police chief for payment outside a West London restaurant, Dizaei pursued him down an alley in his car before violently arresting him and telling him “I am responsible for 5,000 officers. I can —- your life”.
Dizaei later claimed that the victim had attacked him with a sharp metal mouthpiece for a ‘shisha’ pipe.
Dizaei faked injuries to back up his claims, and engaged in a campaign to smear Mr Al-Baghdadi by claiming he had been caught using stolen credit cards.
The innocent businessman spent nearly 24 hours in a cell and was the subject of a full police investigation before the case was dropped by prosecution lawyers.
After a month-long trial at Southwark Crown Court the jury took two hours to unanimously convict Dizaei of misconduct in a public office and attempting to pervert the course of justice, following an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).
Jailing him for four years, Mr Justice Simon said the sentence included a deterrent element “to send a clear message that police officers of whatever rank are not above the law”.
The judge told Dizaei: “You knew how the system worked and you thought you would never be discovered.
“It is to the credit of the investigators in this case that early on they questioned your account.
“You should have drawn a very clear line between your personal position with regard to Mr al-Baghdadi and your position as a police officer.
“You crossed that line and now stand convicted of these offences.”
The judge said Dizaei had shown a “grave abuse of public trust” and his conduct had persisted for some time.
Dizaei will remain a senior police officer until the bureaucratic formal process of throwing him out of the force can be completed.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which investigated the original complaint, must pass its files to the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) for a decision.
Dizaei will then be sacked for gross misconduct and could face losing all or part of his pension under further measures aimed at punishing corrupt officers.
Nick Hardwick, who leads the IPCC, branded Dizaei a “criminal in uniform” who threatened the reputation of the entire service.