Oct 18, 2010, 12:23 PM
The Gambian lady, Sophie (second name concealed by this correspondent for privacy reasons, because she is currently ‘distraught and distressed’) was charged with another Portuguese National named Anselmo Danfa, originally from Guinea Bissau.
Sophie, who was living in Cardiff, is in her early 30s, while Danfa in his late 30s, both originally registered to marry few months earlier but unaware of the fact that they were monitored by Home Office personnel.
Even though the actual ‘wedding’ never took place, a unanimous verdict’ later found both guilty of the crime and each sentenced to 12 months in jail by a Cardiff Crown Court. The keystone of the verdict was mainly on ‘conspiracy to secure the avoidance, postponement or revocation of Immigration Enforcement Action.’
Sophie was sentenced earlier, while Danfa ‘either absconded’ or was nowhere to be found’. He was thus sentenced in absentia. Consequently, a Bench Warrant has been issued for his arrest. A source said: Danfa “may be out of the city few months ago.”
The Home Office described it as a “victory” asserting that “the sentence should serve as a warning to anyone thinking of getting involved in similar activity... the Home Office is cracking down on all forms of Immigration crime...those who seek to cheat immigration laws face prosecution and conviction...”
Nevertheless, Immigration solicitors are contesting that due to her previous “good character” without any known “criminal activity” Sophie should be allowed an early release and “not be removed from the UK in future”.
Moreover, according the Immigration Rules, among others, it is stated clearly that “before a decision to seek removal is considered, all the relevant factors including age, length of residence, strength of connection with the UK, personal history, character, conduct, employment history, compassionate circumstances...” are to be considered.
Despite the guilty verdict, people in the city including respected officials, still view Gambians and Senegalese as well-known for being law-abiding, hardworking and conscientious.
Also competent Gambian legal professionals once again call on anyone with immigration issues to contact them for legal and professional advice to avoid “breaking the Immigration Rules”.
But Andrew Mensha, a Ghanaian graduate, who claimed to be living in the city since the days of former President Rawlings, said: “Sometimes it is due to grave desperation and people are left with little option... I left home since those days and due to right violations with impunity, inept and corrupt governments back home... we are all here for similar reasons.”
Whatever the case, as the Immigration
debate refuses to go away, Andrew still stands his ground, and the Home Office
thrusting for tighter measures, Sophie’s supporters are demanding clemency for
her early release.