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25 Sep 2019

Barrister claimed council tax support

A barrister who said she needed help paying council tax for 17 months earned nearly £40,000 in that time.

Asma 'Sky' Bibi has been hit with a 7pm to 7am curfew after being found guilty of failing to notify Manchester council of a change in her financial circumstances.

Miss Bibi, from Ancoats, claimed council tax support over a 17-month period, despite earning almost £40,000 in that time.

Miss Bibi was initially found guilty in December 2018 following a trial at Warrington Magistrates' Court. She was given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £1,020 costs. She later appealed against both the sentence and conviction.

Last Friday at Chester Crown Court, that appeal was dismissed and a judge increased her sentence, handing her a 12-month community order and a 28 day curfew with £2,585 costs.

In a statement, Manchester council said:
A practising barrister was convicted on Friday, September 13, of failing to notify the council of a change in her financial circumstances. 
Miss Asma 'Sky' Bibi was charged with an allegation that between April 13, 2015 and September 6, 2016, whilst in receipt of council tax support, as part of the council tax reduction scheme and for the purpose of obtaining a reduction in council tax, she failed to declare or provide any notification of a change in her circumstances, namely that she had undertaken gainful employment and had undeclared income in the sum of almost £40,000, knowing that the change in those circumstances would affect her entitlement to a reduction or the amount of reduction under that scheme. 
Miss Bibi was in receipt of council tax support on the basis that she was in receipt of benefits and was not working or in receipt of any other income and which resulted in an over payment of that council tax reduction during that period of £1,105.24.
Ms Bibi's profile on the Juriosity website says she was called to the bar in November 2007 and describes her as self-employed.

When contacted by the Manchester Evening News the Bar Standards Board, which regulates barristers, declined to confirm if it was looking into Miss Bibi's case.

A spokesman said: "The BSB does not comment as to whether or not it has received any information about potential misconduct by a barrister. Such matters are dealt with in accordance with the procedures set out in detail on our website. These procedures are usually conducted confidentially unless they result in a listing for a disciplinary tribunal hearing. Such listings are published on the Bar Tribunals and Adjudication Service website and hearings are held in public."

The Manchester Evening News has attempted to contact Miss Bibi.

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