UK Immigration: Sham Marriage Trial Collapses

Today, it has been reported that three Home Office Immigration Officers have been accused of lying in a case against Rev Nathan Ntege leading to the collapse of a £1million sham marriages trial. The reverend was being trailed after it was claimed that he married up to 500 fake couples in a bid to keep them in the country. In October 2014, Judge Nic Madge  stated that he believes that the Immigration Officers lied under oath and withheld evidence throughout the trial against the Rev Ntege. 

Judge Nic Madge: Home Office Official Immigration Officers left me with no option

Before the collapse of the case, Rev Ntege was being painted as running a ‘matrimonial conveyor belt’ in a church in Thornton Heath, South East London. It was claimed that the number of couples being married at his church went from 6 a year to 9 a day. Furthermore, the jury was told that brides did not appear to know their grooms and would go to the bathrooms to share their wedding dresses with other brides.

Rev Ntege, a Ugandan national entered the UK in 2002 after claiming asylum. All charges against him have now been dropped as Judge Nic Madge has accused three Home Office Official Immigration Officers of perjury and perverting the course of justice. Defence lawyers of the Reverend have claimed that the immigration officers interfered and damaged evidence concerning the case. The Immigration Officers have also been accused of withholding evidence such as photographs, video footage and diary logs for 5 months only to reappear at the last moment.

Judge Nic Madge said in his decision to drop the case against the Reverend was due to:

“both bad faith and serious misconduct on the part of the prosecution. I am satisfied that officers at the heart of this prosecution have deliberately concealed important evidence and lied on oath. In my judgment, it has tainted the whole case. The misconduct of the prosecution, and in particular the officer in the case and the disclosure officer, is so serious that these officers have left me with no option other than to exercise my discretion to stay this prosecution.”

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has launched an investigation against the Home Office’s Immigration Officers in order to examine how they handled the evidence. This will involve the IPCC going through more than 100 boxes of material and trial transcripts. Furthermore, it will examine the relevant Home Office policies.

Changes relating to Marriage/Civil Partnership Visitors

One of the Home Office’s requirements with regards to applicants who want to obtain a marriage visa to the UK have be able to provide evidence that show they are in a ‘Genuine Subsisting Relationship’. In order to prove the genuineness of the relationship some of the evidence required by the Home Office are:

  • Testimonial from your partner (sponsor) confirming your relationship
  • Evidence of communication
  • Any other documents that show you are in a ‘Genuine Subsisting Relationship’.

According to the Statement of Changes in the Immigration Rules which was published 16 October 2014 the following change is being made to Marriage/Civil Partnership Visitors:

  • Individuals who wish to come to the UK to get married or form a civil partnerships must have an entry clearance visa for this purpose. This applies to all applicants regardless of their nationality and is being implemented in order to prevent anyone from entering into a sham marriage or sham civil partnership purposely.

Legal Advice & Successful UK Marriage/Civil Partnership Applications

Our team of experienced and professionally qualified immigration solicitors and barristers will be able to guide you through the process of making a visa application to the UK step by step and limit the possibility of failure by complying with the strict letter of law.

Contact us so that we can review your case and provide you with an assessment.

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