THE lead inspector in the murder trial of Fiaz Munshi has been questioned over the way in which the investigation leading to her arrest was carried out.
Yesterday at Oxford Crown Court Det Insp Craig Kirby was cross-examined by defence barrister Stephen Kamlish.
Munshi, 38, denies murdering eight-year-old Anum Khan and her brother Majid, 15, in an arson attack in Magdalen Road, East Oxford, on August 26, 1997.
Mr Kamlish questioned the “credibility” of prosecution witness Sunder Khutan, who finished giving evidence last week.
Mr Khutan alleged Munshi was a “puppet master” who manipulated others into carrying out the arson attack.
Mr Kamlish said: “He is in fact a hopeless witness.”
Det Insp Kirby said: “I don’t agree he is a hopeless witness.
“He is a witness with additional challenges and issues. Back in 1997 and 1998 he came forward and gave an account which has been subsequently corroborated by independent evidence. That is as important as what he says.”
Mr Kamlish put to Det Insp Kirby that a video of Mr Khutan’s police interview should have been made, to be presented to the jury, under police guidelines.
A video suite was not booked by the officers for when his interview took place.
Det Insp Kirby said: “The key was always to get the account of the evidence from the witness as early on as possible and we could not risk delaying as that was not seen as the preferred option.”
He said the police interview advice was “guidance not rules”.
Munshi, of Manley Road, in Oldham, was arrested last October after a police error meant she was not arrested until nine years after returning from Pakistan.
Five men were convicted in 1998 for the murders of the two children and Munshi’s sister Riaz Munshi was later jailed for manslaughter.
The prosecution is expected to close its case today.
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