Friday 15 December 2017

Asylum seeker with fake passport revealed to be 19 after claiming to be 16

Tom Tuite

AN AFGHAN youth, who claimed to be a minor following his arrest at Dublin Airport for using a fake British passport, is aged 19, a court has heard.

`Rajmeet Singh, who has no fixed address in Ireland, had arrived in the country on December 12 and was about to get another flight out when he was stopped. The youth was arrested and brought to Ballymun Garda station where he was charged with possession of a false passport and using it with intention to induce another person into accepting it was genuine.

The bearded youth, who was wearing a black turban, green jumper, blue jeans and desert style boots, was brought before Judge Ann Ryan at the Dublin Children's Court the following day.

He was refused bail and remanded to a youth detention centre while uncertainty remained over his exact age and identity. Concerns were also voiced in court that he could in fact be an adult.

Garda Enda Ledwith had told the court that the Afghan youth, who had the proceedings translated into the Dari language by a court-assigned interpreter, made no reply when charged.

Gda Ledwith had objected to bail and alleged that the youth had been carrying a fake British passport and “has no ties to this jurisdiction”. “I do not have any verification of this man's identity,” the garda had said.

In court, the youth had claimed he was aged 16. His solicitor had said he was travelling to the UK when he was caught and now plans to apply for asylum in Ireland.

However following several days in custody on remand the case resumed and Judge Ryan heard that the youth's mother, who is living in Manchester in England, had been contacted and she had confirmed her son is aged 19.

Judge Ryan ordered that he would be remanded in custody to Cloverhill Prison. He is to appear again at Cloverhill District Court on December 28.

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