A Halifax shop owner has been jailed following an operation by West Yorkshire trading standards officers into the safety of mobile phone and lap-top chargers.
Bradford Crown Court heard today how officers made test purchases from various premises last year as part of the operation and married father-of-two Navid Akhtar was charged over an iPhone charger and six USB leads which were found to infringe the trademark of tech giant Apple.
Prosecutor Michael Walsh said the accessories were purchased from the BAM Mobiles shop in Borough Market, Halifax, and the court heard how another similar charger, which had been returned by a customer, had ‘’started smoking’’ when it was plugged in.
Mr Walsh said the charger purchased by the trading standards officers in March last year was also examined and found to be unsafe.
The USB leads, which were purchased during a separate visit to the same premises in August, were also examined and found to infringe the Apple trademark.
Mr Walsh said the packaging was inferior and the items also contained spelling mistakes.
The court heard that 29-year-old Akhtar of ran his own legitimate shop, but at the time he was also acting as a stand-in manager at BAM Mobiles while its owner Bilal Munir was serving a prison sentence imposed in November 2012 following another operation by trading standards officers.
Akhtar, of Godfrey Road, Halifax, was also implicated in the previous case, but his eight-month jail term was suspended for a year and he was still subject to that sentence when the latest matters came to light.
Akhtar, whose wife is expecting their third child, admitted two offences under the Trademarks Act and today/yesterday Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC said he had to activate the suspended prison term as well as impose a separate penalty for the new offences.
Although barrister James Bourne-Arton submitted that it would be unjust to jail Akhtar over his role in the latest matters Judge Durham Hall noted that the iPhone charger was not only counterfeit it was also unsafe and dangerous.
The judge pointed out that he had taken a very serious view of the previous trading standards case involving Munir and Akhtar and he had given the defendant ‘’every benefit of the doubt’’ when he suspended his prison sentence.
Judge Durham Hall said Akhtar had also been responsible for buying stock for the shop although he did not sell any items personally.
The judge said he could find no reasons not to activate part of the suspended sentence and in total he jailed Akhtar for 13 months.