3 Sikhs on trial for smuggling 69 turbaned Afghans into UK
Cousins Daljit Kapoor and Harmit Kapoor, and Davinder Chawla, all three in their 40s, pleaded guilty before their trial at Inner London Crown Court in March.punjab Updated: Jul 11, 2017 20:14 IST
Three British Sikhs allegedly helped about 70 Afghan illegal immigrants sneak into the UK using real passports of Sikhs in a £600,000 (Rs 5 crore) conspiracy.
Cousins Daljit Kapoor and Harmit Kapoor, and Davinder Chawla, all three in their 40s, pleaded guilty before their trial at Inner London Crown Court in March.
The three men appeared in the court on Monday for the start of a Newton hearing after disagreements between the prosecution and the defence over their level of involvement in the scam, The Sun reported.
A Newton hearing or inquiry is used where the two sides offer such conflicting evidence that a judge, without a jury, tries to ascertain which party is telling the truth.
Border officials were unable to distinguish between the illegal immigrants who masqueraded as the genuine passport holders because Sikh men are allowed to wear turbans in their ID documents, the court was told.
The gang would travel to France and hand over stolen or genuine passports to waiting immigrants who looked like them.
Once the immigrants got to the UK, the gang would recycle the passports passing them on to others trying to sneak into the country, the report said.
However, the court was told there would be no Newton hearing in relation to Daljit Kapoor, following an agreement between the prosecution and defence over his basis of plea.
For the conspiracy, the trio were paid up to £9,300 (Rs 7.7 lakh) to get entry into the UK, the report said.
In total, 69 individuals who travelled to the UK on the passports were identified, and 59 did not make an asylum application, it said.
“The central aim was to gain financially,” prosecutor Alexandra Felix was quoted as saying.
First Published: Jul 11, 2017 20:11 IST