Jail for woman arrested at her wedding ceremony in Portsmouth

HOME Office officials swooped to arrest a woman over immigration crimes '“ as she celebrated her wedding.

Tuesday, 26th July 2016, 6:00 am
Cecilia Siaw, 45, of Waverley Road, Southsea, who was jailed for six months. She is pictured in her wedding dress as she was arrested on her wedding day

Cecilia Siaw was supposed to be registering her Ghanaian marriage to a German man at Portsmouth Register Office in Burnaby Road.

But instead she was arrested by immigration enforcement officers, who had been tipped off about the ceremony on June 22.

The 45-year-old, who has been jailed, overstayed her leave to remain and bought a dodgy identity document.

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She was detained and taken to Portsmouth Central police station on her wedding day.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard the qualified teacher entered the UK in 2009 legitimately but the Home Office refused to extend her leave to remain in 2013.

James Kellam, prosecuting, said the University of Portsmouth student paid £5,000 to a man she met on a train for a ‘leave to remain’ identity document registered to an Indian man.

Siaw, of Waverley Road, Southsea, was found out when she used the document at work and the Home Office spotted the discrepancy.

Oscar Vincent, for Siaw, said: ‘At the time of her arrest Mrs Siaw 
and her husband were at Portsmouth Register Office for a ceremony to register their marriage in the UK.

‘She was arrested in her wedding dress immediately before the ceremony.’

Siaw is currently appealing a deportation notice.

Mr Kellam, said: ‘At interview she claimed she bought the document from a man on a train in circumstance which must have alerted her to the document being either false or improperly obtained.

‘I say that because the man from whom she bought the document, she says, claimed to work for the Home Office and the defendant said she paid £5,000 for a leave to remain document.’

Siaw pleaded guilty to one count of possession of an identity document with improper intention and a count of knowingly remaining beyond the time limited by leave to remain.

Mr Vincent added Siaw also worked as a healthcare support worker looking after vulnerable people after studying for her master’s degree.

He said: ‘This is a lady who on completion of her studies in 2011 genuinely has made a contribution to the UK.’

The court heard Siaw, who has never claimed benefits, was refused an extension in 2013 and bought the document between December 2014 and June this year.

Sentencing, Judge Roger Hetherington imposed a six-month term for the identity document offence and three months concurrent for remaining in the UK.

He said: ‘I have no alternative but to impose an immediate prison sentence.’