Finance

Pakistani cricketer, 33, is JAILED for ‘misleading’ a judge over a false job contract despite previously walking free after beating his wife with a bat

Mustafa Bashir at Manchester Crown Court. He has been jailed for 18 months

A man has been jailed after he ‘fundamentally misled’ a judge, by telling him he would miss out on a professional cricketing contract if he was locked up.

Mustafa Bashir, 33, was given a suspended sentence at Manchester Crown Court for assaulting wife Fakhara Karim.

Judge Richard Mansell QC was told at the time that if Bashir was spared custody he would be employed as a professional player by Leicestershire County Cricket Club and was ‘about to sign the contract’ when he was arrested for beating his wife.

Bashir had produced a letter, purportedly from his agent, to back his claim, but the club later said the claim was ‘wholly false’.

Judge Mansell ordered Bashir’s sentence to be reviewed at Manchester Crown Court.

Today he sentenced him to 18 months in prison, saying he had misled the court and there was not a ‘shred of evidence’ to back the claim of the contract.

The cricketer’s barrister said the player ‘wasn’t listening’ because he was too emotional and did not mean to mislead the court.

But Judge Mansell rejected the claim, and invoked the sentence immediately.

At Friday’s hearing, Bashir denied telling probation officers or his lawyers that he had a job offer to play professional cricket and instead it was suggested there had been a ‘series of misunderstandings’.

He had, in fact, only played as a semi-professional in the Bolton Cricket League and on two occasions had net session practice with Leicestershire – who denied any knowledge of him.

His lawyers claimed he would lose the offer a professional contract with Leicestershire Cricket Club, but the club later stated they had made no such offer to him The judge told him he had deliberately misled the court, though the cricketer attempted to claim there was a series of misunderstandings before the lawyers made the claims

Judge Mansell had asked Bashir to produce evidence of any job offer but said the defendant had produced only a ‘handful of emails’ and ‘not a shred of evidence’ to support his claims.

Imposing the new sentence, the judge told him: ‘You were clearly making a claim to the court you had a career in professional cricket ahead of you which was false.

‘You made that quite clearly in the hope you would avoid a prison sentence.

‘There’s not a shred of evidence you were ever chosen to play for Leicestershire County Cricket Club, let alone you had received any offer of a full time contract.

‘I am altering my sentence because I was fundamentally misled by you as to your personal circumstances. The sentence on each count on the indictment is therefore an immediate term of imprisonment of 18 months concurrent on each count.’

Judge Mansell QC read a letter at the last hearing from Bashir’s agent, Mr Abid Riaz, which read: ‘He has a bright future ahead of him as he has been selected to play for Leicestershire Cricket Club’.

Now, addressing the emails, Bashir’s lawyer, Bob Sastry, said: ‘It is put that was was a typographical error. It should have read "Mustafa had a very bright future HAD he been selected to play for Leicestershire Cricket Club."

‘I accept that his name is not on the list of those scouted for the club in 2015.’

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

He was previously 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.

During court proceedings, Judge Mansell said his wife, the victim, was ‘not vulnerable’.

He told Bashir: ‘This relationship started well but you began controlling her and how she spent her money.

Judge Mansell was criticised for his comments on the victim

‘You told her how to spend her money and you tried to turn her against her family who you regularly insulted. She would buy clothes that were of a western style which you disapproved of and called her a slag and said her friends were ‘English slag girls’.

‘But I am not convinced she was a vulnerable person. Sometimes women who moved her from their country become trapped in a relationship where they lose their support network of family and friends and cannot speak the language.

‘This is not the case. 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 affect on her. She had difficult trusting people now, especially men.’

Miss Karim told of how she had been fearing for her life before she went to police to report her husband.

She told the BBC: ‘I am a confident and strong woman because of what I have suffered. I was suffering for my life but the judge didn’t believe me.’

During his case, his lawyers claimed in mitigation he would lose the offer of a professional contract to play cricket with Leicestershire.

The club later contacted the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to deny any such offer

After the reports of the suspended sentence, the club released 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.’

CPS guidance on sentencing states a sentence can be reviewed under the ‘slip rule’ of section 155 Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000.

It gives courts the power to alter a sentence or other order made by the judge within 56 days of the date on which it was made.

One reason for altering the sentence is that further information relevant to the sentence has become available to the court.

Speaking after the March 22 ruling came to light, Sandra Horley CBE, chief executive of the domestic abuse charity 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.

‘A domestic abuse perpetrator’s employment prospects should make no difference either. Men who abuse women do not make positive role models; it is concerning when men’s professional or celebrity status is used in court to defend them.

‘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.’

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