Northern Ireland

Man from Cameroon accused over Newtownards 'sham marriage'

The High Court in Belfast
Image caption The High Court in Belfast was told that Elvis Asaah was flown to Northern Ireland "for the purpose of providing his services as a fraudulent witness" at a wedding in Newtownards last year

A man accused of taking part in a sham marriage had allegedly been involved in a previous fake wedding, the High Court in Belfast has been told.

Elvis Asaah, who is originally from Cameroon, had acted as a witness at a ceremony that was halted in County Down, last December.

The court heard he is also linked to a previous bogus wedding in Scotland.

Mr Asaah, with an address at Rodgerson Close, Cardiff, faces a charge of assisting unlawful immigration.

The 30-year-old was detained at Newtownards Registry Office in County Down last December, along with the Cameroonian groom and the French bride-to-be.

During a bail application in Belfast on Wednesday, the court heard prosecutors are linking him to the Scottish ceremony which took place five months earlier, in July 2013.

'Resigned'

A prosecution lawyer also claimed Mr Asaah was planning a third sham marriage at the time of his arrest.

"He was flown in for the purpose of providing his services as a fraudulent witness," the lawyer said.

"He was a key component."

The court heard Mr Asaah had moved to Wales on a visa to continue his studies after gaining a degree in his native country.

His defence barrister insisted his client has not been charged over any other incident.

He accepted, however, that Mr Asaah was unlikely to be allowed to remain in the UK once his case is dealt with.

"This is a man who is resigned to his fate," the defence lawyer said.

Mr Asaah was granted bail on condition he surrenders his passport and puts up a £1,000 surety.

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