IMMIGRATION officers swooped on a suspected sham wedding in Coleraine on Friday afternoon.
The ‘wedding ceremony’, at Coleraine Borough Council’s Cloonavin registry chamber, was halted before it was completed and four people - two men and two women - were arrested.
On Monday, Immigration officers from the UK Border Agency appeared in court to connect a Sri Lankan woman and a Pakistani man, both with addresses in Coleraine, to a number of deception charges.
The woman, 24-year-old Achala ‘Angela’ Wijedoon Mudiyanselage of 49 Bushmills Road in Coleraine, was charged with attempting to remain in the UK by deception in that she acted as the bride in a sham marriage to one Herbert O’Neill.
She was further charged with attempting to remain in the UK by deception in that she sought to enter the country as a tier four student at Sunderland College.
On Monday, she appeared in the dock at North Antrim Magistrates’ Court in Coleraine wearing a maroon coat and a navy jumper.
Immigration Officer, Constable Geoff Ward, said he believed he could connect her to the charges.
No bail application was made.
She was remanded in custody to appear again before the same court via video link next Monday, when a bail application will be made.
A co-accused, 53-year-old Zaffar Iqbal, whose address was given as 15 Waterside, Coleraine, also appeared in the dock wearing a grey suit and green shirt,
Mr Iqbal was charged with assisting unlawful immigration in that he conspired with Achala Wijedoon Mudiyanselage and Herbert O’Neill to act as a witness to the wedding.
He was released on his own bail of £500. Strict bail conditions were imposed.
Mr Iqbal surrendered his British and Pakistani passports as part of the conditions which also prevent him from being in contact with any of the co-accused, unless they work in the same place of employment.
If this is the case, he must not discuss any details about the case with any co-defendants or workers.