‘Sham’ accused appear in court
A 28-year-old Pakistan national has appeared in court in connection with an alleged sham marriage in Dungannon.
Muhammad Zafran had been due to get married to a 42-year-old Polish woman at a civil ceremony at the council offices on Wednesday.
Two Polish women, Agnieszka Kobus, 42, the intended bride and Hanna Adamczyk, 41, who was acting as a witness, were each charged with assisting unlawful immigration (facilitation) by taking part in the suspected sham marriage.
They were released on bail to appear at Dungannon Magistrates Court on 9 November.
A Dungannon man was also arrested but has since been released on bail.
A detective sergeant told the court Mr Zafran is presently in the UK on a visa that is due to expire on 22 October, and no extension has been applied for.
Mr Zafran, who has an address in Aughnacloy, has been in Northern Ireland since July 2010. He has worked in various roles in the security industry.
During police interview, the detective said Mr Zafran denies any wrong-doing, as did his co-accused (the bride), who has since been released on bail.
The court heard the Polish woman who acted as a witness had only arrived in Northern Ireland on 14 October - three days before the proposed marriage.
In the case of Mr Zafran, the detective was “strongly opposed” to bail stating he may abscond if released.
Noting an increase in such cases, the judge refused bail and advised the matter could be brought to High Court.
Mr Zafran was remanded in custody to appear at Dungannon Magistrates Court by video-link on November 14.
According to the UK Border Agency, a sham marriage typically occurs when a non-European national marries someone from the European Economic Area, or the UK, as a means of attempting to gain long-term residency and the right to work and claim benefits in this country.
Earl Aiken, Senior Investigator for UK Border Agency in Northern Ireland said: “We will investigate any instances where we believe immigration offences are being committed and bring our case before the courts.”
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Weather for Dungannon
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 4 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 17 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 5 C to 9 C
Wind Speed: 22 mph
Wind direction: North