Judge criticised 'for saying intelligent domestic abuse victim not vulnerable'

Judge criticised 'for saying intelligent domestic abuse victim not vulnerable'

A domestic abuse charity has criticised a judge in England who reportedly claimed a victim was "not vulnerable" because she was intelligent.

Judge Richard Mansell QC gave Mustafa Bashir, 34, a suspended sentence after he admitted beating wife Fakhara Karim.

Sentencing Bashir at Manchester Crown Court last week, Judge Mansell QC reportedly said he was not convinced Miss Karim was a vulnerable person as she was "plainly intelligent", having graduated from university with a 2:1, and had a network of friends.

Bashir was said to have beaten his wife with a cricket bat and forced her to drink bleach.

Sandra Horley, chief executive of Refuge, said: "Judge Mansell's comments - that he was not convinced of the victim's 'vulnerability' - show a shocking ignorance around the impact of domestic violence on women.

"What a woman does for a job, her level of education or the number of friends she has makes no difference; for any woman, domestic violence is a devastating crime that has severe and long-lasting impacts."

She added: "There are still so many myths and misconceptions surrounding domestic violence.

"People often think that it only happens in poor families on council estates, but the truth is that domestic violence affects women of all ages, classes and backgrounds. Rather than perpetuating damaging myths, the judiciary must be better trained to understand domestic violence."

Commenting on the case on Radio 4's Today programme, Labour MP Jess Phillips said: "Your vulnerability and your risk is a completely dynamic thing."

She added: "Everybody has a dynamic risk, I've met women who went on to be murdered who had law degrees, who were very eminent business people.

"There's no category that domestic violence does not touch. It does not follow class lines, it does not follow race lines, it does not follow age lines."

The court was reportedly told that if Bashir was spared custody he would be employed as a professional player by Leicestershire Cricket Club, but the club has denied this.

A statement on its website said: "Leicestershire County Cricket Club are aware of stories that have been published this morning regarding Mustafa Bashir.

"The club are bemused by these stories. Any references to Mustafa Bashir signing or being approached to sign for Leicestershire County Cricket Club are completely false.

"The club have never spoken to Mustafa Bashir or an agent, nor offered a contract to the player."

A Manchester Crown Court spokesman said Bashir was given an 18-month sentence, suspended for two years, after admitting assault occasioning actual bodily harm, assault by beating, destroying or damaging property and using a destructive substance with intent to maim.

A spokeswoman for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said Bashir had also been ordered to attend a Building Better Relationships Programme and a restraining order was imposed indefinitely.

Asked whether the CPS would apply for a review of the case after the information from Leicestershire County Cricket Club, she said: "We are aware of recent developments relating to this case and are currently considering our options."

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