Abuse charity slams judge's 'shocking ignorance'

Mustafa Bashir Image copyright Pat Isaacs/Cavendish
Image caption Bashir told his wife he could have killed her with the bat, the court heard

A domestic abuse charity has criticised the 18-month suspended sentence given to a man who admitted attacking his then wife with a cricket bat.

Mustafa Bashir, 34, also forced bleach and pills into Fakhara Karim's mouth, Manchester Crown Court heard.

But Judge Richard Mansell said Ms Karim was not vulnerable as she was "an intelligent woman with a network of friends" and a degree.

Charity Refuge said the comments showed "shocking ignorance".

'Makes no difference'

Sandra Horley, chief executive of Refuge, said: "[The judge'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."

The court was told Bashir, of Hebers Court in Middleton, Rochdale, and Ms Karim married in 2013 but the relationship lasted less than two years.

Prosecutor Roger Brown highlighted a row in April 2014.

"He took her into the bathroom where he grabbed a bottle of bleach and he made her drink the bleach so she would kill herself. She spat that out as she was unable to swallow it.

'Would be dead'

"Then he gave her tablets from the house and told her to take them. She did but again she was unable to swallow them," he said.

Another argument in December 2014 led to Bashir, who played cricket for Oldham, strangling her, hitting her with the bat and saying, "If I hit you with this bat with my full power then you would be dead", the court heard.

But sentencing Bashir, Judge Mansell said Ms Karim was neither trapped nor isolated.

"She is plainly an intelligent woman with a network of friends and did go on to graduate university with a 2:1 and a masters - although this has had an ongoing effect on her.

"She has difficulty trusting people now, especially men."

An apparent defence claim, noted by the judge, that a prison sentence would have lost Bashir a contract with Leicestershire County Cricket Club has been rejected by the club, which denies any contact.

Bashir admitted two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Passing an 18-month jail term suspended for two years, the judge also ordered Bashir to attend a workshop entitled ''building better relationships'', pay £1,000 costs and banned him from contacting Ms Karim indefinitely.

The BBC has approached Bashir's lawyers for comment.

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