Bradford’s leading judge has criticised the “intolerably lenient” sentences dished out by magistrates for persistent and blatant breaches of a restraining order.

The Recorder of Bradford, Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC, spoke out while jailing a man for 27 months for repeatedly flouting an order designed to protect his wife and their six children.

He told Basharat Ali: “You see nothing wrong with this. You think it’s ‘a family matter.’ You are wrong.

“The message must get out that short sentences for persistent breaches of restraining orders are intolerable and do no good at all.”

Prosecutor Carmel Pearson told Bradford Crown Court on Tuesday that Bradford and Keighley magistrates imposed the order after Ali physically assaulted his wife in 2012.

He pushed her on the sofa, tried to strangle her and pulled her hair after demanding money.

As well as imposing the restraining order, banning him from contacting his wife or going to her home address, the Justices jailed Ali for four months.

He received a further six months imprisonment for breaching the order three times in 2013.

But a further breach, in 2016, when Ali was drunk and aggressive to his wife, attracted only 12 weeks' custody, and another breach, in 2017, was met with a suspended sentence.

When Ali again made a frightening nuisance of himself, in August last year, he received just eight weeks behind bars.

“What good is that?” the Recorder asked.

Miss Pearson said the latest breaches happened on November 9, 11 and 20.

Ali went to the family home and shouted outside the address for 15 minutes.

Two days later, he was back. He let himself into the house and swore and shouted at his ex-wife, demanding money. He left after he was given £10.

Ali returned for a third time on November 20, thumping on the door and frightening the family.

Miss Pearson said the maximum sentence for persistent and serious breaches of a restraining order was five years imprisonment.

Ali pleaded guilty to the offences on the day he was to stand trial at the magistrates court.

He was remanded in custody and sent to the crown court for sentence.

His barrister, Emma Downing, said Ali and his wife were happy until he began to abuse drugs.

He then used alcohol as a substitute, becoming addicted and spending all his money on drink.

Although Ali’s behaviour was “deeply unpleasant and frightening,” he had not been violent when committing the breaches.

But Judge Durham Hall told Ali, who was sentenced on a video link to Leeds Prison: “One of your problems is that you do not listen, and you won’t accept anything anybody says that conflicts with your own views.”

The probation service had lost all patience with Ali after trying to help him over many years.

The judge made a new restraining order, without limit of time, warning Ali that he would deal with any breaches himself.