Bilal Zawi, originally from Libya launched a campaign of harassment against his boss. Bilal worked at a restaurant in the Cathays area of Cardiff where a row broke out over work documents.

David Singh, prosecuting, told the court that in August last year Zawi started working at a restaurant in the Cathays area of Cardiff. He said the owner of the restaurant told his new employee he would need to produce certain documents but a dispute arose over the paperwork which quickly escalated. Zawi left the restaurant – touching the owner’s wife’s back and calling her a prostitute as he did so – and within minutes starting leaving abusive phone messages. Over the following days the defendant made a series of calls during which he told the restaurant owner he was going to kill him, “stab him 50 times”, and bomb his house with his children inside. He also threatened to make up stories that the boss was using his wife as a prostitute.

Mr Singh said days after being charged, Zawi was in the kitchen of his house in Swansea when an argument broke out between the defendant and a housemate. The defendant responded by picking up a knife and telling his housemate he wanted to kill him before “swinging” the blade around. The court heard the knife made contact with the victim’s face, causing scratches.

Bilal Zawi, of Robert Street, Manselton, Swansea, had previously pleaded guilty to common assault, harassment, and assault occasioning actual bodily harm (ABH) when he appeared in the dock for sentencing. He has no previous convictions in his country or in any other jurisdiction.

Richard Ace, for Zawi, said the defendant was from Benghazi in Libya and had been brought up by his grandparents following the death of his mother. He said his client had a “troubled early life” and had witnessed “significant violence” during the Libyan civil war before crossing by boat to Italy at the age of 15 without any family members. He said Zawi had stayed with an Italian family for a year before making his way to Switzerland, Germany and France where he found work. The barrister said the defendant had then travelled to the UK and after spending four months at an asylum seekers camp in Pembrokeshire had moved to Cardiff and then to Swansea.

Recorder Ifan Wyn Lloyd Jones told the defendant he had embarked on a course of harassment which had involved sending “extremely unpleasant, offensive and threatening” messages. He said two days after being charged over those matters Zawi had lost his temper in the shared house were he was living and armed himself with a knife causing scratches to his victim’s face, an incident which “could have been a lot worse”. The recorder said he had read about the defendant’s traumatic background and the death of his mother but he also noted he had been abusing alcohol and consuming cannabis, something which “did not help”.

With a 20 per cent discount for his guilty pleas, Zawi was sentenced to a total of 36 weeks in prison – comprising nine weeks each for the common assault and the harassment to run concurrently, and 27 weeks for the ABH to run consecutively. The defendant will serve up to half the 36 weeks in prison before being released on licence to serve the remainder in the community.

The first question we have is how was this man able to work? Has he been granted the right to work or was he working illegally. Secondly, after travelling to and working in Italy, Switzerland, Germany and France how is this man being classed as a refugee when he hasn’t been fleeing war for a number of years? Isn’t moving country to country for a better life more like an economic migrant? And lastly, now he has been charged and has committed a number of violent criminal offences, will he be deported?

However, how can we blame these people for coming here and landlords giving up their properties with incentives like this!

Its clear that there is no intention of processing and removing people who have no legal right to be here. Its bad enough that that this goes on alone, but to add to that list that you can slice someone’s face with a knife, threaten to blow up a house with children in and threaten to stab someone 50 times and STILL not face deportation. A massive change is needed in the UK and I don’t believe the Conservatives can deliver what is needed.


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