Asylum seeker in fraud case can stay in UK

AN IRAQI asylum seeker who has been "on the run" in the UK for nearly six years will be allowed to stay in the country despite being charged with attempted fraud, because he has since married a Slovakian woman and had children.

Hayrish Mohamed, was refused asylum in May 2004 but the 25-year-old absconded in July of the following year, Sheffield Crown Court was told.

After remaining in the country and eluding the authorities he applied for indefinite leave to remain again in November 2008 on the grounds of the "inordinate delay" in dealing with his case.

Having since married a Slovakian wife, who is a European national and entitled to live in Britain under EU immigration laws, it is likely the UK Border Agency will grant his application for permanent residency, the court heard.

Mohamed, who now has two children with his Slovakian wife, narrowly escaped jail on the charge of attempted fraud, but Judge Alan Goldsack QC spoke of the "quite incredible delay" by the authorities over the case.

Zaiban Alam, prosecuting, said Mohamed, whose full Sheffield address was not disclosed in court, was arrested at Meadowhall shopping centre on July 22, 2007 on suspicion of harassment and possessing an offensive weapon.

Police gave him a fixed penalty fine but he supplied a false name. He was arrested again on December 11, 2009 on suspicion of assault and this time gave his correct name.

The offences of 2007 then came to light.

He was bailed but Mohamed was arrested again on May 20, 2010 and this time charged with attempted fraud after he tried to obtain a driving licence using the false name. He was also charged with perverting the course of justice.

He admitted both offences when he appeared before Judge Goldsack for sentence.

Laura Marshall, defending, said Mohamed had been reporting every month as required for his asylum application, which is still outstanding.

He had initially been driving on a Slovakian licence but needed a UK licence when it ran out and applied for a new licence in the name of a Slovak who owned and insured the car.

Ms Marshall said Mohamed wanted to be a positive member of society and hoped to work as a translator in Slovak and Kurdish. Currently a "house husband" on 35-a-week food handouts he had been offered a job as an interpreter and his wife worked full-time.

If he was jailed his wife would have to give up work and claim benefits.

It was expected he would be told he had indefinite leave to remain in the UK within the next few weeks and then he could work legitimately.

Judge Goldsack told Mohamed: "Although I am not an expert on immigration law it seems unlikely that you are now going to be removed from this country having established a family here."

He said the offences merited prison but he did not think it would be in the public interest and gave Mohamed a 52-week jail term suspended for two years along with 150 hours of unpaid community work.

On the basis Mohamed will soon have an interpreting job he ordered him to pay 2,400 prosecution costs within a year.