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8 September 2014, 13:23
A convicted rapist is on the run after leaving Hove crown court during his trial.
Sarbaz Najmadeen Ali, 28, was convicted in his absence of a series of sexual offences against a 23-year-old man from Hastings, East Sussex, after disappearing from the precincts of Hove Crown Court during the lunch break on Thursday last week, Sussex Police said.
Ali was granted bail which allowed him to leave the dock during the lunch break but not the court building. Officers have been unable to trace him.
The jury convicted Ali in his absence of rape, attempted rape and three counts of sexual assault, the force spokesman said.
A warrant has been issued for the arrest of Ali, of Stockleigh Road, St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, who worked as a barber in the town.
Ali is 5ft 7in, with black hair and was unshaven around his chin at the time of his disappearance, police said.
Detective Constable Julian Stokes said: "There is no evidence to suggest that Ali will commit further offences while he is at large but we need to find and arrest him as quickly as possible.
"The jury has found him guilty of these nasty offences but his victim does not have justice yet as Ali has not been punished.
"If you have seen Ali or have any information about where he could be, please contact us.''
Anyone with information should email email@example.com, call 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.