Would-be Brierfield cocaine dealer had sex with schoolgirl

editorial image

A MAN who had sex with a schoolgirl was preparing to sell crack cocaine while on bail, a court heard.

Zohaib Bukhari had consensual intercourse with the 15-year-old, who had been drinking, after meeting her in a park at midnight. Nine months later, police found a 9.41 grams stash of drugs, some on the defendant and some under his bed at his family home, where young children also lived.

Bukhari (19), of Heyhead Street, Brierfield, admitted sexual activity with a child and possessing crack cocaine with intent to supply. He was locked up for two years and ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for 10 years at Burnley Crown Court.

Mr Huw Edwards (prosecuting) said, on July 25th last year, the defendant was in his car with two friends, when he pulled up alongside three girls sitting on a bench.

He asked them their names, invited them into his vehicle, telling them he had somewhere to hang out and drove to a house. He asked the girls how old they were and they told him they were 15. Bukhari then asked the girls which was the “dirty one.”

Mr Edwards said the defendant took one of the trio by the hand, led her upstairs, took off her coat, pulled down her leggings and underwear and had protected sex with her. He then told her to perform a sex act on him, but she refused. The pair of them went back downstairs.

The defendant left the house, the girls then left and one of them told her boyfriend what had gone on. Bukhari was arrested the following day, denied having intercourse with the girl, but said there had been sexual activity without penetration. The defendant claimed he believed the girl was over 16.

The prosecutor said, in April this year, police stopped the defendant in a different vehicle and could smell cannabis. After a struggle, Bukhari was searched and officers found two mobile phones and five wraps of crack cocaine on him. He might have tried to swallow them. His home was then searched and police discovered a cigarette packet containing 18 wraps of drugs under his bed, a dealer’s list and another phone. Bukhari was interviewed and made no comment. The defendant, who had no previous convictions, will not face a proceeds of crime investigation.

Miss Louise Kitchin, for Bukhari, said he was extremely remorseful. He did not pressurise the girl.

The defendant, who was immature, had served five months on remand and had had a very difficult time. He had no friends, had been threatened and was fearful of returning. The barrister added: “The time he has spent in prison thus far really has had a profound effect upon him and taught him a lesson.”

Miss Kitchin added Bukhari’s pre-sentence report stated continuing detention would be counter-productive. She said: “I echo those sentiments.”

Sentencing, Judge Beverly Lunt told the defendant he had not targeted the girl and she was not subjected to any violence or threats. She continued: “In fact, what happened between you both was consensual activity, but the fact is she was only 15. You are held to be a man in law,”

The judge added Bukhari had claimed he committed the drugs offence to pay off a debt. She told him: “You must understand anybody who gets involved in dealing crack cocaine will go to prison instantly and for a long time.”