Bogus solicitor jailed

Posted: 15th October 2012

In a case which underlines the wisdom of clients checking the qualifications of lawyers they instruct, a bogus solicitor who stole from clients, regularly appeared in court and secured divorces for husbands without their spouses' knowledge has failed to win a cut in his prison sentence on appeal.

BradfordCrownCtKhuram Shazad Ali, 33, from Bradford, was jailed for four years and eight months at Bradford Crown Court in May 2012 after admitting assorted counts of theft, fraud, and using a false instrument with intent. Although he had never qualified as a solicitor, he displayed an ‘utter contempt for the law’ and duped unsuspecting clients into believing he was a legal expert.

Judge Peter Rook QC, sitting at the Court of Appeal, said: ‘For more than two years he acted as a fully qualified solicitor and offered advice across a wide spectrum of different disciplines - none of which he was qualified to do. The prosecution case was that he was not motivated by altruism: he charged clients for his advice and also stole from some of them.’

Ali's lawyers challenged the length of his sentence, citing his previous good character, his young family and his fragile health. Ali suffers from narcolepsy and chronic eczema which has flared up alarmingly in custody.

Dismissing the appeal, however, Judge Rook, sitting with Lord Justice Aikens and Mr Just’ce Burton, refused to accept that the sentence was manifestly excessive. He said: ‘A severe sentence was to be expected...his legal career is at an end.’