***NEWSFLASH***Sabina Akhtar murder. The police and CPS are blamed.

May 20, 2009

We take no pride in reporting that Sabina Akhtar was killed after the police released her violent husband on bail. But what other approach could we take? Malik Mannan stabbed his 26-year-old wife Sabina Akhtar to death. During their short marriage, he was violent to her on 25 separate occasions; two months before her death he threatened that he was going to come home with a knife and “slaughter” her.  Sandra Horley of Refuge suggests we can also blame the police and the Crown Prosecution Service for Akhtar’s horrendous murder. We don’t agree.

Horley believes that, under human rights legislation, the authorities had a duty to protect her right to life, a duty that they signally failed to carry out. Helena Kennedy QC agrees that there are sufficient grounds to sue the Greater Manchester Police and the CPS. They see this as a test case, one which may bring about a change in policy in the area of domestic violence. The CPS have offered an apology stating they should have charged Mannan earlier. However we do wonder what the family knew and what they did to prevent this murder?

Here at the Twining Chronicles we do not think it is fair to blame the police. Admittedly we can only report at this stage on what we read. We arrested the suspect. And if we did this all the times we could have done then we have carried out our duty. We can’t make up evidence to charge, and the charging decision, these days, I am led to believe rests with the CPS. Perhaps the charging decision needs to come back to Custody Sergeants. Yes, we have a duty to protect life. 

We would say where we have these number of calls to an address, the issue is one of domestic violence, and the complaint is genuine then we must do all that we can to end the cycle of domestic violence. Whether we like it or not domestic violence is a dangerous phenomenon when we consider how it might impact on minority communities.

Sometimes the most vulnerable of people are those that can’t speak the English language; although our belief is that Sabina could speak English well. We have been here before where a failed domestic violence report resulted in an Asian female being sent home. The female, well she was a distant relative. Her English was poor, she didn’t know who to ask for help. Her husband killed her stabbing her several times. The message from us is think domestic, and if language is a barrier be careful, if the number of incidents increase, ask yourself why? Take positive action. As far as we can tell the buck stops with the CPS, and Horley, well she may just be wrong about blaming the Police.


  1. I dunno what we are supposed to do these days. The police philosophy towards domestics has totally changed to a sensible, in my mind, proactive, if somewhat non-discretionary, approach and yet there are still those in ‘partner’ agencies who still think we are not doing enough. Maybe we should branch out into formalised partnership counselling and charge for it too! Crime Prevention?

  2. It’s happened at last then. Here in Notgreatside the positive action approach towards domestic violence has led to a 7 page document that must be filled in at every such incident.

    After arrest, the subsequent disposal of the offender has well and truly been taken from the remit of the police. If the CPS deem the matter worthy of no further action then that is the end of it. On some instances the matter has been escalated and been reviewed, leading inevitably again to NFA.

    Twining rightly states that we can’t make up evidence to ensure the offender is charged, we can only get what we can get. Often it is only a negative statement from the other party coupled with your description of the visible injuries in your own statement that gets presented. Usually NFA.

    I think the blame in these matters lies more with the CPS than the police. CPS consultation has led to a situation where we, the police, are essentially in the clear if after our best efforts to charge an offender the matter is discontinued.

    There must be a collective sigh of relief from SMT and ACPO when it all goes wrong because in effect the blame no longer lies with them. If the matter isn’t presented to a court due to a CPS lawyer, frequently over the phone, deciding that there is no prospect of a succesful prosecution, how can justice prevail?

    A re-think is definetely needed. The old custody sergeants frequently heard adage of “we’ll let the courts decide” needs to be heard again and the offender charged. The CPS can then do some proper work and prosecute in court again. Regards.

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