'You are a disgrace to your profession, your family and the Asian community'

A LAWYER who provided a "serious criminal" with a false alibi for his High Court trial went to prison for five years and three months yesterday.

Solicitor Shahid Pervez, 39, was branded by the judge, Lord Hardie, as "a disgrace to his profession, his family and the Asian community".

He told Pervez: "You have pled guilty to an offence which strikes at the heart of justice by committing perjury in support of a false alibi for someone charged with a serious offence for whom a trial was fixed.

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"As a result, the trial was adjourned for investigation and the accused was allowed bail and is now a fugitive from justice," Lord Hardie went on.

"The public is entitled to have the highest standard of integrity and honesty from lawyers, and you have betrayed that trust and besmirched the good name of solicitors."

Pervez, of Crookston, Glasgow, admitted attempting to pervert justice by providing the man who was accused of abduction and extortion, with a false alibi in 2005.

In a sworn statement, Pervez, a conveyancing solicitor, said the man was in his office discussing an insurance claim at the time the crime was committed.

Paul McBride, QC, defending, described the man who was given the alibi, who cannot be named for legal reasons, as a "significant player" who inspired fear amongst criminals.

He said a terrified Pervez agreed to provide the alibi because the man threatened his life and the lives of his family.

Mr McBride's comment that it was an "absolute tragedy" for the lawyer prompted a remark from Lord Hardie: "It is also an absolute tragedy for the course of justice."

He said that after he was threatened, Pervez should have reported the matter to police and he told Mr McBride that if the rule of law was ignored the courts would be governed by criminals.

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Lord Hardie said: "The rule of law is greater than any of us, and in this case it hasn't prevailed because there is a fugitive from justice as a result of Pervez's actions."

The Law Society of Scotland, the ruling body of the country's solicitors, described Pervez's action as "regrettable" and "disappointing".

Philip Yelland, its director of regulation, said: "On the incredibly rare occasions when a former member of the legal profession is caught on the wrong side of the law it is deeply regrettable.

"Mr Pervez's actions are especially disappointing when compared with the high standards that are so frequently displayed by the vast majority of the profession.

"Integrity and honesty are the core values expected in the legal profession.

"Clearly, Mr Pervez has betrayed those values."

Pervez has since resigned from his practice at the firm of Belton Pervez in Victoria Road, Glasgow, and is no longer a solicitor.

Lord Hardie told Pervez that in sentencing him he was taking into account the fact that he had given evidence for the Crown in the trial of a Glasgow policeman.

The officer, who also cannot be named for legal reasons, allegedly tried to buy a witness's silence in the fugitive's trial with a 50,000 bribe.

The constable was found not guilty.

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