CPS to apologise to family of woman murdered by abusive husband
Justice in the eyes of those who were close to Sabina Akhtar will not be fully realised if lessons are not learnt from this tragic case. Those who handled the case at the CPS must be held accountable for failing to protect young women like Sabina. We need to understand why it was concluded that there was insufficient evidence to charge her husband who, after release from prison, breached his bail conditions and murdered his wife a few days later. A public inquiry is imperative and the IPCC should not procrastinate in ensuring the family get the answers they deserve. In the meantime, how many times do such cases of violence need to be reported to get a response?
This case shows that, despite repeated attacks from her husband (26 in all), violence against black and minority-ethnic women is not seen as a serious crime requiring a policy of deterrence and, concomitantly, harsh punishment for offenders. Despite the fact that there have been national guidelines introduced by the CPS in preventing violence against women, and also training for those who handle such cases, women are still being failed and the issue of victim credibility questioned. In other cases related to BME women, public confidence and trust in the system will not grow, and lessons not be learnt, unless criminal justice agencies accept culpability when they make mistakes and act to rectify them. This is essential in order to bring real change in the efforts to save the lives of vulnerable women. In the case of Sabina Akhtar, it will come too late…
Dr Aisha Gill
Chair of NAWP