Jail for Pakistani groom who took crib sheet to his sham wedding

A PAKISTANI man has been jailed for 18 months after police raided his sham marriage and seized a “crib sheet” he used to memorise his bride-to-be’s details.

Ijaz Khalid, 28, was set to wed Czech woman Michaela Sivakova, 22, when officials swooped on Calderdale Register Office, Halifax, after a tip-off from a suspicious registrar and arrested them both, along with her parents, Ruzena Sivokava, 41, and Michal Sivak, 47.

Khalid, from Pakistan, had been in the UK since 2007 but his visa had expired at the time of the sham marriage, Bradford Crown Court heard. Sivakova and her family have lived in the UK since 2005.

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Kitty Taylor, prosecuting, said Khalid’s attempts to stay in the UK saw him apply for a marriage certificate with another Czech in April, even though he told police he had been in a relationship with Sivakova since meeting her in January at a coffee shop in Bradford.

When police searched his car they found a crib sheet containing information about Sivakova and her family, details of how they claimed to have met, rings that he had bought just two days before the fake ceremony, as well as the bride’s bank details.

The prosecutor said: “Outside the registry office was Khalid’s vehicle which contained documentation relevant to the case. There was a crib sheet which contained background to his intended wife and her family, along with details of how they met. Police also found, among the documentation, two rings.”

The first contact between the family was just one month before the wedding, the court heard.

Judge John Potter said: “The investigation into what was about to happen at the registry office provided clear evidence that each of you embarked on this unlawful agreement to allow Khalid to breach the immigration laws of this country.

“It seems that a moderate amount of money was to be transferred to this family, probably around £200, to allow the groom, once married, to remain in the UK.

“People who behave how you did, flouting the immigration laws of this country, causes potential danger for our country.

“There are cases of organised sham marriage offenders, professional organisations which can be very lucrative, set up as they are to flout our immigration laws.

“I accept that here there may not have been such a high gain, as there was only one marriage planned.”

To the would-be groom, Judge Potter said: “But you, Khalid, this was the second attempt at a marriage of this kind.

“You were instrumental in this conspiracy. You were more heavily involved. This was your second attempt at a sham marriage. You would have gained significant personal benefit by being allowed to remain in the UK.”

Khalid, of Watford, and Sivakova, of Halifax, were charged with conspiring to breach immigration laws, and signing false statements.

She was given a ten-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, along with 175 hours community service and a three-month curfew.

Her parents, of Halifax, admitted conspiracy to facilitate a breach of immigration law. Ruzena Sivokava must do 175 hours community service and her husband was given a three-month curfew. Both had their six month prison sentences suspended for a year.