Neil Lancefield, Court reporter
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
A Malaysian student who was allegedly robbed by bogus Good Samaritans during the summer riots knew what was happening but was powerless to stop it, a court heard today.
Ashraf Rossli, 20, had been in Britain for just a month when he was set upon as looting swept the country in August.
The accountancy student had been cycling to a scared female friend when his jaw was broken in two places as he was punched in the face by an attacker on August 8 in Barking.
John Kafunda, of Eastwood Road, Ilford, and Reece Donovan, of Cross Road, Romford, then allegedly stole from Mr Rossli after posing as Good Samaritans.
The incident was recorded on a mobile phone and received widespread publicity after being posted on YouTube.
The footage showed two men rifling through Mr Rossli’s bag after helping him up.
The trial at Wood Green Crown Court heard evidence from Mr Rossli in which he said a portable Sony PlayStation and 10 games were taken, at a value of £500.
“I was sat on the pavement with blood pouring from my mouth,” he said.
“I remember being approached by a male who asked if I was okay. I remember being pulled to my feet, then I felt someone again tugging at my rucksack.
“I was not in a position to defend myself and was still suffering from the effects of being hit.
“I knew they were stealing from me but I could do nothing. Once they had taken what they wanted they left.”
Kafunda, 22, and Donovan, 24, both deny robbery, theft and violent disorder.
Donovan is also charged with one count of burglary at a Tesco store, which he denies.
The jury heard evidence from a male who said he recognised Donovan as the man seen in video footage taking goods from the victim’s bag and walking away.
The witness said he identified the defendant after seeing the video broadcast on Channel 5’s news programme.
The male, given the pseudonym Kieran Thomas, was hidden from view by a screen and had his voice distorted.
He said he had known Donovan for “a long period of time”.
The trial went on to hear evidence from a female - whose identification was also hidden - with the pseudonym Sarah Bishop.
Ms Bishop said she recognised Kafunda as the other man involved in the incident with the student.
She told the jury she identified the defendant after the video was shown on BBC News because she could see “his side profile” and he was wearing tracksuit bottoms.
The court heard written evidence from Abdul Hamid, who filmed footage of the alleged incident but said he had not uploaded the video on to YouTube.
He said he “put the footage on my Facebook page as I was totally shocked by what I had seen”.
Statements from local residents were also read out, including one who described being “very shocked by what I witnessed”.