Last night Manchester Crown Court’s Judge Richard Mansell ruled that he would not jail Mustafa Bashir, a man who made his wife drink bleach and, at one point, struck her over her back with a cricket bat saying: “If I hit you with this bat with my full power then you would be dead.” Judge Mansell concluded she was not vulnerable enough because she was “an intelligent woman with a network of friends” and a university degree.
The Judge handed out a suspended sentence of 18 months – a punishment which is not enforced unless a further crime is committed during a specified period. What message does this send out to perpetrators of domestic abuse?
Alison Saunders, Director of Public Prosecution at the Crown Prosecution Service needs to take domestic violence seriously. Like Bashir’s partner, I went through hell with my ex, enduring domestic abuse for 18 years. At one point I was shot with a sawn-off shotgun and then beaten. My 16 year old son took his life as a result of this. I also had a network of good friends – does that mean I was not vulnerable enough too? What ignorance by the system.
For years I have been saying that judges who deal with these cases don’t fully understand the issue of domestic violence, including the power dynamics of the perpetrator and victim and how it can make you a prisoner in your home – regardless of your network of friends and how intelligent you are.
I am actively campaigning in the domestic abuse arena to see that all services listen to the voice of those who have and still are victims/survivors. Sadly we are experts by experience. All Judges should have mandatory domestic abuse training because their lack of knowledge is putting lives at risk, those lives of the vulnerable people.
I am calling on the Alison Saunders to agree to meet me, and show that the CPS understands that work needs to be done so that Judge Mansell’s actions are never repeated.