Shiraz Sharif went on the run last year before his trial
Shiraz Sharif, 46, fled last year just months before he and wife Salina, 45, faced trial over their benefits scam and £500,000 drugs empire.
Before he went on the run he pleaded not guilty but later from his hideaway instructed his UK lawyers “not to fight the case” – implying his guilt to the jury who then convicted him.
Now his lawyers have used that “implication” of guilt to win the jobless father-of-three a reduction on his sentence under legal rules.
Mr Sharif and his wife Salina faced trial over benefits scam and a £500,000 drugs empire
The law is clearly an ass
Peter Bone, Conservative MP
At Manchester Crown Court, Judge Lindsey Kushner QC awarded him a 10 per cent sentence discount, meaning if he ever returns to the UK he will be jailed for just fourand-a-half years.
Last night Conservative MP Peter Bone said: “The law is clearly an ass.
“Fortunately, once we have got back control of our courts after Brexit we will not be accountable to the European Court, from where all these ridiculous laws stem.”
While Sharif languishes in Pakistan, his wife – who stayed behind in the UK with their three children – was also convicted of money laundering and jailed for 30 months.
Judge Kushner said: “This was not a normal trial for Mr Sharif – he was absent, therefore not in a position to plead guilty.
“I think I should give him some discount – not a great deal, but 10 per cent.”
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Before Mr Sarif went on the run he pleaded not guilty
The Sharifs raked in £40,000 in child tax credits at their home in Levenshulme, Manchester, while as a supposed college student, she won a £1,000 government loan.
They spent £100,000 on private school fees for their children, dropping them off in their £60,000 Range Rover Sport. In 2014, police found 242g of crystallised MDMA and 866g of cannabis in their attic.