A businessman accused of grooming young girls for sex was a ‘mug’ used by teenagers to provide alcohol and free taxi rides, the Old Bailey heard today (Tuesday).
Mohammed Khubaib, (43), who ran Peterborough restaurants Zaika and Asian Fusion, was taken advantage of by a string of ‘precocious’ teenage girls willing to ‘manipulate’ him to get what they wanted, jurors were told.
Being in the presence of young and possibly attractive young girls is not an offence, “He must have the intention to do something sexual and he never does.”John Jones QC
The letting agent is accused of enticing girls as young as 12 into spending time with him using gifts of cash, flowers, tobacco and McDonald’s meals.
The married father-of-five then drove them to properties around Peterborough where they were plied with alcohol and used for the sexual pleasure of him and his friends, it is alleged.
But Khubaib’s barrister, John Jones QC, said he was ‘foolish’ and ‘unwise’ to associate with the girls, but never had any sexual intention in his mind.
“These are not girls who are vulnerable and trafficked, these are girls who will lie and manipulate to get what they want and lie and manipulate to get out of what they think they have done,” he said.
“All of the girls fit into that category. They wanted something and would take any step to get it.”
Khubaib, who has been described as ‘disgusting’ and ‘minging’ by some of his alleged victims, was first arrested in 2007 when he was accused of raping a 14-year-old girl.
Mr Jones said he would have been expected to ‘run a mile’ to avoid being put in harm’s way by associating with young girls.
“He didn’t. For that he has been foolish, has been manipulated and used. Used by a bunch of out-of-control teenagers with an insatiable appetite for alcohol,” he continued.
But he told the jury: “I don’t have the luxury of you liking Mohammed Khubaib and I am never going to be able to paint him as a victim.
“He was not a victim here. If he was a mug, if he was taken advantage of then more fool him, but it does not make him guilty of trafficking.
“His actions are at worst foolish and he may even admit a fondness to be in the presence of young girls.
“But merely because he had that fondness, it does not help you that much.
“Being in the presence of young and possibly attractive young girls is not an offence,
“He must have the intention to do something sexual and he never does.”
Khubaib, of Cambridge Avenue, Peterborough, denies nine counts of trafficking a child for sexual exploitation and one of raping a 14-year-old girl.
He is standing trial alongside Manese Motaung, (32), of Grange Road, Peterborough, who denies five counts of trafficking a child for sexual exploitation and one of raping a 16-year-old girl.
The pair have each been acquitted of two trafficking charges on the instruction of Judge Peter Rook QC.
The trial now continues on Wednesday April 8.