JURORS in the trial of three men accused of firebombing a house in Birkby were warned not to let their emotions cloud their judgement.
The lawyers defending murder accused Nazar Hussain, Shakiel Shazad and Shaied Iqbal gave their closing speeches at Leeds Crown Court yesterday.
Malcolm Swift QC, for Nazar Hussain, said all defendants had done wrong in the incident - which happened on Osborne Road on May 12 last year - but the evidence against each man should be considered individually.
Mr Swift said: "The Chishti family were murdered. The question is how many murderers were there and who were they?
"Anyone who has listened to this case would not blame you if you thought these are irresponsible, evil youths with no moral values, no consciences, whose behaviour is insensitive, shallow, wicked and downright criminal. They are all as bad as each other.
"So why should you not approach the case in that way? Because that approach doesn't accord with the oath you took. It would be wrong to allow your sense of outrage or emotion to affect your judgement."
He said there was no evidence that Nazar made or threw petrol bombs, or knew the house was to be targeted instead of cars.
He said scientific evidence showed it was possible Nazar did not pour petrol through the letterbox from a green can.
He said Shaied Iqbal and missing man Shahid Mohammed could have poured a different petrol in when they visited the house earlier.
He said traces of this petrol from the hallway matched some found on Shahid Mohammed's shoes.
He said it could have been ignited by a petrol bomb hitting the door - which corresponded with nuts, milk bottle fragments and scorch marks on the doorstep.
He said Nazar, Shazad and Anwar Hussain, charged with lesser criminal damage offences, had no motive to attack the house - but Mohammed and Iqbal did.
Peter Wright QC, for Shazad, also warned the jury.
He said: "Sympathy is a precious commodity. You should not waste it on Shakiel Shazad. The only people who deserve sympathy are the hapless survivors of the Chishti family and the innocent victims of that fire."
He said some defendants had "wriggled and squirmed" to try and save themselves.
He added: "There is an overwhelming desire to do justice for the family in this case and to hold all of them responsible for everything that happened.
"The contempt we may feel for those involved in any way in this tragic episode is a potential hindrance to the exercise you must perform and we advise you to guard against it."
He said Shazad's agreement to firebomb cars belonging to people unknown to him was despicable.
But he said Shazad had admitted this and it was all he was guilty of.
He said the only evidence that Shazad threw petrol bombs were admissions he allegedly made to Iqbal and prosecution witness Mohammed Arif Siddiq.
Mr Wright said both men had their own agendas. There was no proof Shazad planned to attack the house or made petrol bombs.
Alan Rawley QC, for Iqbal, said he was the only defendant to admit responsibility for the firebombing.
He said Iqbal was innocent of all the charges - except planning to commit criminal damage to cars outside the house with stones.
Nazar and Shazad denied this charge, instead admitting conspiring to damage cars by arson.
Mr Rawley said there was no firm conspiracy to bomb cars. Instead, Iqbal said everyone knew the house was the target, thinking it was empty.
He said the jury must be sure Iqbal intended to endanger lives by arson and that he intended to kill or do serious harm to the occupants before convicting him.
Mr Rawley said the other defendants had attacked Iqbal's character because his story incriminated them.
He said: "The others are terrified of his evidence."
The trial continues.
FOUR men are on trial at Leeds Crown Court:
* Shaied Iqbal, 26, of Springdale Road, Thornton Lodge, denies eight charges of murder, conspiracy to commit arson with intent to endanger life and conspiracy to commit arson to motor vehicles. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit criminal damage to motor vehicles.
* Shakiel Shazad, 23, of Gledholt Road, Gledholt, denies eight counts of murder and conspiracy to commit arson. He pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit criminal damage to motor vehicles, but guilty to conspiracy to commit arson to motor vehicles.
* Nazar Hussain, 24, of Dryclough Road, Crosland Moor, denies eight counts of murder and conspiracy to commit criminal damage to motor vehicles. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit arson to motor vehicles.
* Anwar Hussain, 22, of Dryclough Road, Crosland Moor, denies conspiracy to commit arson to cars.
The fire claimed the lives of eight people at their home in Osborne Road, Birkby. The victims were: Mrs Zaib-u-Nisa, 54; her son, Ateeq, 18; her daughter, Mrs Nafeesa Aziz, 35; and her five grand-daughters - Tayyaba, 13, Rabiah, 10, Ateeqa, six, Aneesa, two, and Najeeba, six months.