Nelson man to fight “slavery” court order

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A Nelson man has said he will fight an interim court order given to him connected to the recently introduced Modern Slavery Act 2015.

The police are also pursuing criminal investigations after three Polish nationals were found living in a lean-to shed at the back of Mohammed Riaz’s home in Manchester Road, Nelson.

It is alleged that in return for food and somewhere to sleep they were driven around waste disposal sites at night and made to steal property from the skips.

But Riaz (62) said he was “disappointed” to find himself in court as a result of a simple act of kindness.

Speaking after a hearing at Blackburn Magistrates’ Court he said he had done nothing wrong.

“These people were sleeping on park benches and were starving. They begged me for help and out of the goodness of my heart I gave it.

“For my kindness I find myself in court for the first time in my life. The doors were not locked, there were no chains or handcuffs and all the people who stayed at my house had mobile phones. I will be opposing this order at the hearing in November.”

District Judge James Clarke made an interim Slavery and Trafficking Risk order pending a full hearing on November 24th and 25th.

The interim order prohibits Riaz from permitting anyone to live or sleep in the outbuildings within the grounds of his home.

It also prohibits • directly or indireclty forcoing, compelling or coercing any person to perform work or labour against his or her wishes or transporting them for the purpose of such work.

He also must not contact directly or indirectly Mr Michal Czerniawski, Mr Andrzez Doroz or Miss Malgorzata Bieniek.

District Judge Clarke said acceptance of the interim order did not infer acceptance of the allegations made by the police.

“I understand the defendant says he acted out of charity in helping these people,” said District Judge Clarke.