Asylum seeker 'told pack of lies' to stay in Plymouth
AN asylum seeker who told a "pack of lies" to stay in this country has been given a suspended prison sentence.
Tailblah Assoua, aged 34, told immigration officials she had fled from the Ivory Coast to escape an abusive and polygamous marriage, Plymouth Crown Court heard.
She has gone on to have two children here and is studying at college – but still faces possible deportation.
Assoua, of Cecil Street, Stonehouse, admitted obtaining leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom by deception.
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Judge Paul Darlow told her yesterday: "The application you made in April 2003, saying that you were fleeing a polygamous marriage where the husband was an elderly man who was abusive to you, was a pack of lies."
He gave her a 40-week prison sentence, suspended for two years. She must do 240 hours unpaid work.
Prosecuting, Brian Fitzherbert, said: "She was interviewed by the authorities and gave that account and her asylum application based on that account was refused.
"The defendant lodged various appeals, all of which were dismissed until she had exhausted all of her appeal rights."
Llewellyn Sellick, for Assouah, said she had not committed any offence in almost a decade.
He said: "She is living a good life in this country.
"She has two children who are well looked-after and doing well at school.
"She is at college to improve her language and numeracy skills.
"Who knows whether she will be deported or not?"
Mr Sellick said at the time of the offence Assouah was pregnant and under pressure to tell lies.
He passed the judge references of Assouah's good character from her neighbours and fellow parents at her children's school.
Judge Darlow said he found it hard to believe her claim that she had originally come to the United Kingdom on a visitor's visa with no intention of staying.
He added: "It was an odd thing to do to come to a country where you didn't understand the language, culture and apparently distrusted the figures of authority.
"It is a serious offence to attempt to mislead the authorities."
The judge said that he sentenced her on the basis that her lies had failed and she had been refused leave to stay in the country.