08 April 2010

Court hears Baroness “did not ask about UK immigration status”

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A court has heard that the Attorney General Baroness Scotland never asked the illegal immigrant who worked as her housekeeper about her legal status even once during her employment.

While giving evidence at Southwark Crown Court, Loloahi Tapui insisted that she did not deceive Lady Scotland about her UK immigration status as the matter was never discussed.

Loloahi Tapui worked for Lady Scotland at her home in Chiswick, west London, for nine months, and is accused of passport fraud. Miss Tapui denies charges of fraud and possessing a false identity document with intent. She has already admitted having a bogus stamp on her passport, obtained by paying £180 to a Russian former housemate named Alex, who claimed to know a UK immigration official.

Lady Scotland told the court on Tuesday that she had scrutinised a Tongan passport and a letter from the Home Office granting Miss Tapui leave to remain, and she also said that she had stressed the importance of anyone employed by her being entitled to work in the UK.

Miss Tapui insisted that she was never asked about her immigration status during her job interview, replying that “never, at any stage did she [Lady Scotland] ask me”, and that she never showed Lady Scotland her passport as she had lost it.

When immigration officers searched Miss Tapui’s flat in Turnham Green, London, in September they found an expired Tongan passport bearing a false Home Office stamp on a bookshelf.

Lady Scotland was fined £5,000 by the UK Border Agency last year for failing to take copies of documents she said she had inspected, including the passport and Home Office letter.

The trial continues.


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