LONDON (AP) — Britain's Crown Prosecution Service is considering its options Tuesday in a case in which a man was spared jail for beating his wife after a judge deemed that she was not a vulnerable person.
Domestic abuse campaigners have criticized Judge Richard Mansell for handing Mustafa Bashir, 34, a suspended sentence at Manchester Crown Court last week for assaulting Fakhara Karim.
Mansell said Bashir beat his wife with a cricket bat and forced her to drink bleach. Bashir admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm, assault by beating and using a destructive substance with intent to maim, but Mansell sentenced Bashir to 18 months, suspended for two years.
"I am not convinced that the complainant was particularly vulnerable through personal circumstances," the judge said in sentencing remarks released by the judiciary. "Sometimes, women who are married in a foreign country and come to this country to live with their husband are effectively trapped in a relationship, particularly where they have few friends, struggle with the language, lose their support network such as parents
"However, the complainant here was plainly an intelligent woman, who managed to hold down a job as a receptionist, had friends and then went to university."
The remarks touched off outrage. Sandra Horley, of the charity Refuge, said the judge showed 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 said.
Domestic violence affects women of all ages, classes and backgrounds, she added.
"Rather than perpetuating damaging myths, the judiciary must be better trained to understand domestic violence," she said.