Judge grants bail as ‘final act of mercy’ to Jewish man who lied over divorce

Defence welcomes delay in sentencing to avoid clash with Shabbat


A Jewish man will learn on Monday whether he will be jailed after he admitted lying under oath in order to get a civil divorce.

Moshe Charazi, of Stamford Hill, north London, pleaded guilty to two counts of perjury at Harrow Crown Court on May 18.

He was due to be sentenced today but Judge Justin Cole granted the 41-year-old bail over the weekend as “one final act of mercy”.

Nigel Leskin, defending, said deferring sentencing until Monday morning would be helpful because if his client was to be imprisoned on Friday evening, it would clash with Shabbat.

Charazi was accused of “circumventing the law” in obtaining a civil divorce, after negotiations with his wife over a get stalled.

Prosecuting, Dipan Varsani told the court Charazi, in his sworn affidavits in November 2007 and February 2008, falsely claimed he and his wife had lived apart for five years together and that he did not know of her whereabouts.

Mr Varsani said: “He also falsely stated there were no children in the family. He later corrected this to say a child might have been born but he had no details of the child’s name.”

Charazi disputes he is the father of his ex-wife’s child, and his name does not appear on the birth certificate. He has claimed she had sought approximately £385,000 for child maintenance.

Charazi and his ex-wife have failed to agree terms of a get, including paternity and maintenance. Without a religious divorce, his wife is unable to get remarried, and any child she bears from a subsequent relationship would be considered illegitimate.

Mr Varsani also told the court that Charazi’s ex-wife was unaware he had obtained a civil divorce, and only learned of it after speaking with a friend. Charazi has since remarried to a Yemeni woman – although only through a religious ceremony. The couple live in the UK and have five children, two of whom have “severe disabilities”.

Mr Leskin admitted his client had acted “illogically and irrationally”, but proceeded with the civil divorce to demonstrate he was “serious about reaching an agreement” over the get.

He also outlined mitigating factors, including the nature of Charazi’s children’s disabilities and the fact that his current wife cannot speak English.

Mr Leskin also said Charazi and his family had been subject to pressure from the strictly Orthodox community to grant the get, which has seen him lose his employment and become “isolated”.

Mr Leskin said: “(One of the children) needs hospital treatment within the next month, with the requirement one parent attends with the child and stays overnight at the hospital.

“One person has to stay with the other children during the overnight admission and they cannot ask anyone else in the community to look after them.”

Charazi denied one count of perverting the course of justice, but the Crown Prosecution Service has left it marked not to proceed, because it would not make a material difference to any sentence.

The judge confirmed Charazi would receive full credit for pleading guilty at the earliest opportunity.

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