By Hannah Roberts
A married Tory councillor who took a second wife after convincing her he was divorced has escaped jail despite being convicted of bigamy.
Pervez Choudhry, 54, was caught out when his new wife hired a private detective to investigate him after a remark from a relative aroused her suspicions.
Dr Zabina Shahian, a GP, discovered that when Choudhry married her in Pakistan in December 2010 he had been legally married to his first cousin Hameda Daulat since 1986.
The career politician, former leader of Slough borough council’s Conservative Party, had told Dr Shahian about his first wife, but had convinced her that he was no longer married by showing her court papers about custody hearings regarding their three children, Reading Crown Court heard.
When Dr Shahian discovered the deception she ended their relationship and subsequently suffered a miscarriage.
The disgraced politician was fined £750 on Friday and ordered to pay £4,000 compensation to Dr Shahian.
Judge Ian Grainger told him: ‘You have served your community well, in particular as a councillor and at one stage as leader of the Conservative group.
‘This offence is a serious blemish on that character. Bigamy is in no sense a private matter. The rule . . . is a simple one – one spouse at a time.
‘Whatever cultural roots that rule may have, there’s practical wisdom in that rule.’
After the case Choudhry, who plans to appeal, claimed he had been forced to get engaged to his first wife when he was 11 and she was just a baby.
The marriage went ahead, he claimed, because it was his mother’s dying wish, but he said it was unhappy despite the best efforts of his partner.
He added: ‘We kept the first marriage for our children because
there’s a stigma attached to families that divorce, but we went our separate ways’.
After meeting Dr Shahian, he said that within hours ‘she had made up her mind that I was the person she was waiting for.’
He added: ‘This has brought up one thing – this is always going to be a problem being a Muslim.
‘I cannot sleep with anybody without getting married. I’m between a rock and a hard place.’
Dr Shahian called in a private detective agency following a flippant remark from one of his relatives.
His first wife had already informed police, but an initial investigation stalled as he claimed their religious ceremony would not count as an official marriage.
It was not until Dr Shahian reported him to the police that it emerged the religious ceremony would qualify under Pakistani law as a wedding.
Outside court Dr Shahian said that the marriage had ruined her life.
She added: ‘It’s really affected me. I’ve been at a standstill. He showed me divorce certificates and when you meet someone you take them at face value.
‘When I finished with him, he made my life miserable. All I wanted was justice. I was devastated.’
Choudhry stepped down from his post as Conservative leader in August last year following orders from Tory HQ.
He stood as an independent candidate but he was booted out by
voters in the local elections earlier this month.
Choudhry said he had lodged an appeal at the High Court against his conviction, having pleaded guilty following a ruling by the judge on the validity of the marriage in Pakistan.
Source : dailymail