Citation – Acheampong  EWCA Crim 1894
Date – 4th November 2015
Keywords – Sentence, false passport, Ovieriakhi,
Overview – Sentence of 12 months for using sister’s passport to gain work reduced to 8 months.
Summary – CA had entered the UK illegally and had an application for a residence card refused. Her sister, DA, had been naturalised as a British citizen.
CA obtained employment in a care home using DA’s passport (willingly supplied by her).
The Judge was referred to Kolawole and imposed a sentence of 12 months immediate for CA and the same, but suspended, for DA.
The Court of Appeal accepted that the fact that it was used for the purposes of work, which put it in a different category.
It was held that the fact that CA had never been lawfully in the UK “places the case above the category of case which includes R v Ovieriakhi, where a 6-month sentence was imposed by the Court of Appeal, and closer to the R v Kolawole category”.
Against that, the fact that it was a genuine British passport lent by her sister, and there was no illegal entry, was mitigation.
The appropriate sentence was therefore 8 months.
(1) Ever increasing complexity is brought in to sentencing in this area. It seems that each case the Court deals with brings a new nuance to it. For use at a port, the authorities are clear : 12-18 months on a guilty plea. So far, so good.
For cases where there is use in-country, it is hard to give a clear indication. The range is still probably 6-12 months on a plea, but this case seems to introduce another category of above Overieriakhi but below Kolawole. The rationale being that a higher sentence is applicable for someone who has never been lawfully present. The argument for this does not seem particularly compelling.
Given the number of cases on this point though, it may be time for either the Sentencing Council to address this, or a Court of Appeal be convened to give guidance on these points.
(2) On a separate point, it is disheartening to note that more than 6 years after Overieriakhi, neither the Judge nor the two advocates seem to have been aware of it.
Judges – Hallett LJ, Edis J, HHJ May QC