Judge Asks, " Why Can’t We Deport This Identity Cheat?"

Judge asks: Why can't we deport this identity cheat?

By Elaine Jinks

Published Date: 12 February 2007
Location: Halifax
The Evening Courier

A JUDGE has slammed the immigration system which has prevented him from deporting a convicted criminal.

Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC spoke out after he was told that a Nigerian national, who has been living in Halifax on false documents for years, now intends to apply for asylum.

He intended to recommend James Osarogiagbon, who came to the UK in 1998 using a false British passport, for deportation.

But if his application is rejected and he appeals the decision, Osarogiagbon will be entitled to stay in the country for months awaiting the outcome of the Immigration Appeals Tri-bunal.

Judge Durham Hall said: “It seems to me that the powers and procedures of this court are just being treated with a degree of contempt and the attitude of the immigration authorities seems somewhat casual.”

When told that Osarogiagbon would have to stay in jail, he said: “I am sure that will give the great British public immense satisfaction and they will be content.”

The 30-year-old of Ashbourne Grove, admitted possessing false identity documents and was jailed for nine months.

Richard Smith, prosecuting, said Osarogiagbon was arrested last October on suspicion of being a failed asylum seeker.

Documents in various names were discovered at his
home including a false Dutch passport and a curriculum vitae,
Mr Smith said he used the false British passport to open bank and savings accounts and obtain a national insurance number.

Osarogiagbon told police the Dutch passport, which replaced the British one, had been made for him to obtain work and he did not know it was a forgery.

At first he claimed to be Canadian and 16 years old. When he appeared at Cald-erdale Youth Court it was discovered he was much older.

Narinder Singh Sekon, for Osarogiagbon, said he fled Nigeria because he feared persecution because his family was connected to a previous government.

He said an agent had provided him with the false passport on arrival at Heathrow Airport and told him it would be his “ticket to gainful employment.”

Judge Durham Hall told him: “You came on false documents and were found in possession of false documents in order to obtain that which you were not entitled to.”

He said Osarogiagbon's explanation should be treated with “caution” and added that he should be deported as soon as possible if his application for asylum fails.