Sophie Wilkinson | Contributing Editor | Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Man Sexually Assaults Woman On Tube, Gets Banned From Peak Times

Man Sexually Assaults Woman On Tube, Gets Banned From Peak Times

The Debrief: IT worker Irtaza Shahzad won’t get time in prison…

We all know the rules, right? If you sexually touch someone without their consent then you’ve broken the law. It’s sexual assault and you can get sent to prison for six months to 10 years for doing it.

However, according to one court’s ruling of a sex offender, you can get away with sexually assaulting someone without doing any jail time.

IT worker Irtaza Sharhzad, 34, got onto an eastbound Central Line train at Holborn, central London at around 5.40pm – when rush hour is at its absolute peak – on 22nd January 2015. He was spotted by plain clothes police officers going close to two or three women, rubbing his genital area on them before changing trains and sexually assaulting another woman, reports The Mirror.

Sharhzad, who worked for Network Rail, was given a two-year community order at the Old Bailey last week and is banned from using the Underground from 7.15am until 9am, and between 4.30pm and 6.30pm. He'll also have to have sex offender treatment.

Judge Nicholas Cooke said in his sentencing:

‘This offending is in fact a problem on the London Underground. Women must be able to travel without this type of thing happening to them. You now understand the seriousness of this, look where it has ended you up - in court two of the Central Criminal Court.

‘We have moved in a generation from a world where it was considered sexist to think men on the Underground stood up for women to sit down, to where the Underground has a reputation for women being bothered by the sort of sexual conduct in this case.’

‘That is terrible for the reputation of this city and women deserve to be treated with respect. I do not need to pass an immediate custodial sentence in this case, you are not a danger to the public.

‘When you are able to travel on the Underground you will behave as a gentleman and not in this way.’

So, in case you didn’t read all of that, the judge is really sad that this happened and that women live in fear of being harassed and assaulted while just trying to get from A to B in the UK’s capital city, But also, also, he won’t lock Sharhzad up because he doesn’t think he’ll be a danger to the public.

Well, only if he travels when the Tube is quiet. But what if he travels on a busy train and decides to do this again? And what if he wants to take advantage of a quiet carriage to sexually assault another victim?

The ruling seems to suggest that the problem isn’t Sharhzad’s criminal lechery, but the way people are crammed into trains at rush hour.

While we’d admit that Tube trains heaving full of people leaves us feeling a little violated at the best of times, if overcrowding is seen as the cause this sort of problem in a court of law as high as the Old Bailey, then it’s high time Transport for London sort out overcrowding on their carriages.

Like this? You might also be interested in:

The Number Of Women Reporting Sexual Assaults On The Tube At A Five-Year High

Sexual Harassment On Trains Is A Fact Of Life. Will This Campaign Stop It?

This Girl Confronted Someone Who Groped Her On The Tube. And Now He's In Jail

Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson

Tags: FFS News, Sexual Assault