A failed asylum seeker who used a false passport to gain employment in a Galway city hotel for nearly four years received a six month suspended sentence this week.
Hamid Sadda (36 ), with an address at Lisbrook House, Headford Road, appeared before Judge Mary Fahy on Monday and pleaded guilty to using a French passport, which he knew to be false, with the intention of inducing another person to accept it as genuine, to provide some service, to wit, employment at a city hotel between June 30, 2007, and March 15, 2011, contrary to Section 26 of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud ) Act.
Garda Robert O’Reilly told Galway District Court that on April 4, 2011, information was received regarding a waiter at a four star hotel in the city who had used a false passport to gain the employment. The court heard that Sadda has been in the State since 2005 and that he had sought asylum and, due to this status, is not permitted to work. Garda O’Reilly added that Sadda had been working on and off in the hotel industry over the years, had a PPS number in another person’s name, and had been paying tax through this.
Defence solicitor Adrian MacLynn said that from the outset of the investigation his client had been fully co-operative. He said that Sadda, a French Algerian, had received the false identification documents for the purpose of gaining employment.
Garda O’Reilly said that Sadda had admitted the offence straight away and that he had not come to the attention of gardai before this.
Mr Maclynn then told the court that Sadda had applied for asylum on humanitarian grounds but that this had failed. He further explained that Sadda wanted to work and he used the passport for this purpose only. “He impressed his employers at the time and they thought highly of him,” said Mr MacLynn before handing in two references.
“He hasn’t burdened the State, his motive was to work,” he said.
Referring to a letter from a recruitment consultant, Judge Fahy said: “How can they deal with someone on a honest basis if all the information they were given is false? He is a burden, he applied for legal aid and was granted it”.
“He wasn’t working at that time,” replied Mr MacLynn.
“If he was working on and off for five years he must have had some means to pay his fees,” said Judge Fahy, before convicting Sadda and imposing a six month sentence suspended for 12 months on his own bond of €300 to be good behaviour and not to re-offend in any manner. Judge Fahy added that deportation orders were a matter for the state.