Law change after family’s campaign

Zahir Andrew Aziz, 43, appered before city magistrates charged with the murder of Shabir Choudary in Thornes.'w0738a003
Zahir Andrew Aziz, 43, appered before city magistrates charged with the murder of Shabir Choudary in Thornes.'w0738a003

A FAMILY searching for answers after a violent offender murdered his uncle days after being released from prison have forced a change in the law.

Zaheer Aziz, 44, murdered his uncle Shabir Choudary 27 days after being released from prison in January 2010.

Murder victim.''SHABIR CHOUDARY

Murder victim.''SHABIR CHOUDARY

Aziz had been serving an eight-year sentence for attacking two drug users with a scythe and for supplying heroin before he was released on licence.

After Mr Choudary, 52, gave him a place to stay, Aziz killed him with a kitchen knife in his flat on Gill Syke Grove, Thornes.

In August, it emerged that Aziz could have been sent back to prison before he killed if his level of risk had been properly assessed by West Yorkshire Probation Trust.

Mr Choudary’s family demanded disclosure of the full Serious Further Offence Review into the murder, but West Yorkshire Probation refused, citing data protection and government guidelines

Mr Choudary’s nephew, Nesar Rafiq, called for a change in the law, saying lessons could only be learned if the reports were shared with victims’ families.

Now justice minister Jeremy Wright has intervened after appeals from the family and their MP Mary Creagh.

Mr Wright said Probation trusts would now have to share a summary report with victims if an offender committed a further serious offence while under supervision.

The rule comes into force in April, but Mr Wright has asked West Yorkshire Probation Trust to produce a report for Mr Choudary’s family.

Mr Rafiq said: “We know that mistakes were made by probation, but we never knew to what extent. This should ensure we get closer to the truth, and then we will decide what to do next.

“We are happy that the minister has done this. Citizens of West Yorkshire need to know that the probation trust is rehabilitating offenders properly, and that they are monitored and not a risk to other people.”

Ms Creagh said: “I have been working to support Nesar and his family for the past year and his tireless efforts have forced ministers to take notice and change the law.

“Nesar has helped to change the law so that, in future, victims’ families will have better access to truth and justice.”

Zaheer Aziz was found guilty of Mr Choudary’s murder in August 2010. He must serve a minimum of 17 years before he can be considered for parole.