Manchester

Nigerian best man at Salford sham wedding walks free

The best man at a sham marriage in Salford, who was arrested at the altar, has walked free from court.

Nigerian national Kolawole Ogunleye, 32, was held with the bogus bride and groom after immigration officials halted the St Paul's Church ceremony.

Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court convicted him of assisting unlawful immigration during three ceremonies at the church in Paddington Close.

Ogunleye was sentenced to nine months in jail suspended for two years.

He had spent six months on remand in custody while awaiting trial after being arrested on 27 October.

Ogunleye told the jury he was unaware that the marriage was fake despite the fact he lived with the groom, who had arrived in Britain on a false passport.

Sentencing, Judge Jonathan Geake told the defendant: "You were in this country on a legitimate visa up until October of this year.

"You are an educated and intelligent man and you obviously knew that your friend was not in that position and he was planning to enter this fake marriage to achieve that status.

"There was not much in it for you as you were not being paid for what was going on."

He added that an immediate custodial sentence would have been passed if Ogunleye had already not spent so long in custody and under curfew.

Ogunleye was ordered to perform 100 hours of unpaid work for the community.

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