Citation – Boateng  EWCA Crim 57
Date –216th March 2016
Keywords – Conviction, Immigration Offences, Nullity, Guilty plea
Overview -Guilty pleas to various immigration offences were not unsafe on the grounds of incorrect advice, but four out of the eight counts were quashed on other grounds.
B’s wife had fraudulently obtained a Dutch passport, which B used to come to the UK and obtain an EEA permit for himself and their children, followed by British Citizenship
There was an 8 count indictment covering a seven year period. The issue at any trial would have been his knowledge of his wife’s dishonesty. He pleaded guilty and was later sentenced.
After pleading guilty at the PCMH he protested that he should not have so pleaded. Fresh counsel was instructed who gave the same advice.
It was held that B had been offered an opportunity to change his plea and had made a decision not to. In relation to specific issues :
(1) Counts 2 and 12 charged obtaining leave to enter by deception. As he had obtained an EEA permit, not leave to enter, this could not be sustained
(2) Counts 4 and 5 were ID card offences indicted under the 2006 Act, but before it had been passed. These counts had to be quashed.
(3) Dishonesty is not needed in all cases for the s25 offence – every case depends on its own facts
(4) Although s10(1)(c) Immigration Act 1999 is not an ‘immigration law’ for the purposes of s25 as it is procedural in nature, this was not a fundamental flaw
(5) A ‘false’ Home Office stamp in a genuine document makes the document a false one
(6) Even if advice tendered goes to the heart of the plea, and the plea is not a ‘free one’, then this does not itself make the plea a nullity.
Judges – Leveson P, Globe & Cheema-Grubb JJ