A barrister who was convicted by magistrates for council tax fraud and found to have lied at a subsequent hearing has been disbarred.
Sky Bibi, called in 2007, faced disciplinary action after she was convicted at Cheshire Magistrates Court for failing to disclose a change in her financial circumstances which she knew would affect her entitlement to a council tax benefit.
According to the bar tribunal's judgment, her failure to disclose the change to her employment status and receipt of income meant she received £1,054 to which she was not entitled. Bibi was sentenced to a 12-month conditional discharge, a fine of £1,000 and a victim surcharge of £20.
However, the sentence was changed to a 12-month community order and a 28-day curfew after Bibi appealed her conviction at Chester Crown Court. At the re-hearing, the appeal was dismissed and the judge found that Bibi had given evidence and made submissions that were dishonest.
The tribunal also suspended Bibi for 12 months for failing to declare her conviction when seeking employment and working for a solicitors’ firm, and of providing the employer with a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate which did not reveal the true state of her criminal record.
A spokesperson for the Bar Standards Board said: ‘Barristers are required not to behave in a way which diminishes the trust and confidence which the public places in them or in the profession. Acting dishonestly in the way that she did undermines this and the tribunal’s decision to disbar Ms Bibi reflects the importance of this core duty.’
The tribunal’s decision is open to appeal.