Man jailed for duping officials in bid to delay migrant's deportation
A man who lied to two top judges and duped British border officials in a successful bid to delay a migrant's deportation has been jailed for perverting the course of justice.
Mohammed Kabba pretended to be a solicitor representing the migrant when he telephoned a High Court judge at night to make a spurious out-of-hours legal application.
When the judge ruled against him, he then called a Court of Appeal judge but was again turned down.
In the event, the over-staying migrant whom 52-year-old Kabba claimed to be representing was taken off a plane to Nigeria, but only after Kabba faxed false case details to Home Office officials.
Sentencing Kabba for 16 months in jail for the deception at Birmingham Crown Court today, Judge Melbourne Inman QC told him his actions had undermined the rule of law.
He said: "Any acts which tend to pervert the course of justice strike at the heart of justice and at the heart of what lies in a democratic society.
"In this case it relates, predominantly, to the emergency procedure available in this country which is an essential safeguard to liberty and the protection of rights to individual citizens and that relies heavily on trust.
"Any abuse of that procedure is obviously very serious because it undermines the basis of the system and it's crucially important that judges who have to deal with these difficult matters without full information, often at night, its are entitled to know that the trust in the system is being honoured by those who make applications before them."
He added: "You deliberately lied to a judge of the High Court and a judge at the Court of Appeal.
"Their status does not aggravate the offence but the importance of the procedure does."
The Recorder of Birmingham went on: "This is an essential procedure within this country and essential its integrity is protected.
"It is therefore part of my sentencing duty that that is clear to everybody and that I pass a sentence that serves in part to deter people from deliberately misleading a judge."
The judge accepted Kabba was "an intelligent" man who had acted on behalf of the illegal over-stayer "through a misguided but genuine belief in her case" and not for financial gain.
Kabba, wearing a suit and representing himself for the sentencing, deceived the authorities for six months over the case of illegal over-stayer Edith Asoluka.
In brazen acts of deception, Kabba called High Court Judge Mr Justice Sir John Mitting and then Lord Justice of Appeal, Sir Stephen Price Richards in February 2013, masquerading as a qualified solicitor.
In the event, both judges turned down his spurious legal arguments, however he sowed enough confusion with Home Office officials that Miss Asoluka was not deported for almost another month.
At a trial in June, both senior judges turned up to give evidence against Kabba and he was later convicted by a jury of a course of conduct intending to pervert the course of justice.
During the case, Kabba also sacked two legal teams including a QC, the court heard.
Today, Matthew Brook, prosecuting, said the case had cost the taxpayer £2,093 in delays, including extra accommodation costs to keep Miss Asoluka at Yarl's Wood detention centre.
Mr Brook said: "The acts which perverting the of justice at the Courts of Justice, was the deportation of Edith Asoluka, an illegal over-stayer from Nigeria.
"On the 25th of September 2012, the defendant telephoned a gentleman employed by the Home Office in the immigration department saying he was a member of IEI Solicitors, which he was not.
He added: "On 25th February 2013, that was the day that Miss Asoluka was due to be put on a plane and deported back to Nigeria.
"Firstly Mr Kabba faxed the Home Office saying that the injunction was still in place meaning Miss Asoluka should not be deported and that he had telephoned the Administrative Court in Birmingham who had provisionally agreed the injunction was in place.
"Because of the timing after court hours the Home Office at Yarl's Wood took it at face value and stopped Miss Asoluka being put on a plane.
"Later on 25th February 2013, Mr Kabba telephoned the High Court speaking to Mr Justice Mitting to make application for a further injunction for Miss Asoluka not to be deported.
"When that was refused Mr Kabba then telephoned the Court of Appeal's out of hours telephone line being put through to Lord Justice Richards, again lying to him saying he was a solicitor, when he was not."
Mr Brook said: "As a result of his actions, Miss Asoluka was not put on a plane to Nigeria, she was eventually deported on 21st March."
Kabba, who has already served time on remand in custody, was told he would serve half his jail term on licence.
Detective Sergeant Richard Ward, of the Metropolitan Police's fraud squad, welcomed the jail term.
He revealed Sierra Leone national Kabba, who was in the UK legally, may now end up being deported as a result of his conviction.
Mr Ward said: "This man has abused the trust built in to our legal system and this sentence sends a very clear message that anyone pretending to be a solicitor will receive the full force of the law.
"I can confirm the Metropolitan Police will be referring this case to the Home Office in order his indefinite leave to remain in this country can be revoked."