Crown won’t appeal sex attacks sentence

PROSECUTORS will not appeal the non-custodial sentence given to a private hire car driver who sexually assaulted two teenage girls, it was revealed today.

The Crown Office decision comes after Asif Bashir launched his own appeal to overturn his conviction for carrying out the attacks in the back of his cab.

The mother of one victim today said that she was “very disappointed” by the decision, adding that her daughter had lost faith in the justice system to such an extent that she now regretted reporting her ordeal.

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She added that her daughter felt Bashir’s bid to throw out his conviction was a “massive slap in the face” after he escaped a jail term last month.

Bashir, 43, was given 300 hours of community service after being found guilty by a jury of carrying out the separate assaults a year apart.

The victim’s parents last month filed submissions to the procurator fiscal urging an appeal be lodged against his sentence on the grounds of “undue leniency”. Both families highlighted Bashir’s failure to admit his crimes after forcing the victims to give explicit evidence in court about the assaults.

The mother of the first victim, who was 19 at the time of the incident, said: “It’s very disappointing because justice has not been done.

“From my daughter’s point of view, she has gone through this massive process of going to the police and giving evidence in a trial and she feels that he has got away with it.

“My daughter now wishes that she had never gone to the police to report it. If she knew someone in the same situation she would advise them to say nothing. That must say there is something wrong with the justice system when a victim of a sex offence feels like that.”

Bashir, of Groathill Loan, Drylaw, was sentenced at Dunfermline Sheriff Court on April 4.

Two weeks later, solicitors acting for Bashir lodged an intimation to appeal at the Appeal Court in Edinburgh, and were given until June 13 to lodge grounds for the case.

The victim’s mother added: “To learn that he’s now appealing against his conviction, my daughter feels that’s a massive slap in the face. Part of the reason we asked the Crown to appeal the sentence was the fact that Bashir was still not admitting these crimes. Now he is appealing against his conviction.

“A sex offender who does not admit they did anything wrong is a continuing risk to others.”

A Crown Office spokeswoman said: “Following full and careful consideration of all of the facts and circumstances in this case Crown Counsel instructed that there should be no appeal against sentence.”

While the Crown has the right to appeal against “unduly lenient” sentences, the Appeal Court has set a test that the sentence must be outwith the range which the judge, taking account of all relevant factors, could reasonably have imposed in order to be successful.

A spokeswoman for Bashir’s solicitor said they had no comment to make on the appeal.

Bashir could not be reached for comment yesterday.