Man jailed for forging divorce in Bradford
A man masquerading as a divorce solicitor ran a scam in Bradford offering fed-up husbands divorces behind their wives’ backs, a Crown Court judge was told.
A 57-year-old man, who attempted to divorce his wife without her knowledge, appeared in the dock yesterday to admit a charge of perverting the course of justice.
Bashir Ahmed, of Fairway Avenue, Wibsey, Bradford, had sought the services of Khuram Shezad Ali to help him divorce his wife in 2005, the court heard.
A petition for the divorce was lodged at Bradford County Court and a reply was returned, apparently signed by Ahmed’s wife, prosecutor Richard Wright said.
But the suspicions of the county court judge were raised when he noted the terms and particulars of the petition were identical to three other petitions. It was believed the forms had been completed and signatures forged by Ali.
“What particularly made the judge suspicious, was that, the petitioner being a man, it had the sentence that he had not given birth to any other children during the course of his marriage,” which is only relevant to females.
Mr Wright said Ahmed was unaware that Ali was a fraudster who had no right or qualifications to practice law and had fooled numerous others into believing he was a solicitor.
He stressed it was not the prosecution’s case that Ahmed knew Ali was a fraud but his criminality lay in knowing his wife was not aware he was divorcing her.
Sentencing Ahmed to a suspended jail term, Recorder Mark Gargan told Ahmed: “I entirely accept that in 2005 you wanted a legal divorce. You went to a solicitor in order to obtain a legal divorce. You believed that Ali was a proper solicitor and that he would take all the necessary steps to obtain a legitimate divorce on your behalf.”
He said Ali was “clearly a fraudster” and that Ahmed had allowed himself to take advantage of the fake solicitor’s criminal misconduct.
He told Ahmed: “By doing so, you knowingly and deliberately took steps which perverted the course of justice and might have had significant adverse consequences both for the legal system and for your, now former, wife.”
Ahmed was sentenced to eight months in custody suspended for two years and ordered to complete 80 hours unpaid work.
In mitigation Yunus Valli said there was no suggestion Ahmed had any financial advantage, and that he and his wife had already been through the Islamic religious divorce process.
Ali has admitted a series of charges relating to his fraudulent practising as a solicitor in Bradford and will be sentenced at a later date.