Northern Ireland

Dungannon sham marriage accused appears in court

wedding cake
Image caption The arrests were made before the ceremony took place

A 28-year-old man has appeared in court in connection with an alleged sham marriage.

Muhammad Zafran had been due to get married to a 42-year-old Polish woman at Dungannon council offices, County Tyrone, on Wednesday.

However, UK Border Agency officers, acting on intelligence, stepped in before the ceremony could take place.

The witnesses, one Polish woman and a Dungannon man were also arrested but have since been released on bail.

A detective sergeant told the court Mr Zafran is presently in the UK on a visa that is due to expire on 22 October, and no extension has been applied for.

Mr Zafran, who has an address in Aughnacloy, County Tyrone, has been in Northern Ireland since July 2010. He has worked in various roles in the security industry.

During police interview, the detective said Mr Zafran denies any wrong-doing, as did his co-accused (the bride), who has since been released on bail.

The court heard the Polish woman who acted as a witness had only arrived in Northern Ireland on 14 October - three days before the proposed marriage.

In the case of Mr Zafran, the detective was "strongly opposed" to bail stating he may abscond if released.

Noting an increase in such cases, the judge refused bail and advised the matter could be brought to High Court.

Mr Zafran was remanded in custody to appear at Dungannon Magistrates Court by video-link on 14 November.

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