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Saturday 17 March 2018

Man jailed for pretending to be father of Chinese baby

Ann Healy

Roulan Lin and Graham Hopkins at Galway Circuit Criminal Court yesterday. Andrew Downes

A MAN has been jailed for two years after accepting money from a Chinese woman so that she could register him as the father on her child's birth certificate and get an Irish passport for the boy.

Separated father of three, Graham Hopkins (44), from Castlepark, Headford Road, Galway, and hotel maid, Roulan Lin (26), with a former address at The Stables, College Road, Galway, both pleaded guilty at the Circuit Criminal Court to giving false information to a registrar at the Civil Registration Service, Galway, on April 20, 2009.

The pair also pleaded guilty to giving false information in connection with a passport application.

Lin came to Ireland in 2004 on a student visa to study English and worked in various hotels and fast-food outlets. She became pregnant by a Chinese man and gave birth to a baby boy on April 19, 2009.

She feared the child would not be allowed to remain in the country and she paid Hopkins, whom she had met through a mutual friend and who was in financial difficulty, €3,500 to name himself as the child's father on the birth certificate and on the passport application form.

Hopkins and Lin had been stopped by immigration officials at Dublin airport on February 2 last year on their return from a trip to China with the child.

Officials were suspicious the child, who had an Irish passport, was not his.

"He was trying too hard to be a parent and it made officials suspicious," said Sgt Paudie O'Shea.

He arrested the pair in May and they readily admitted giving false information to authorities.

He said Lin was in the country illegally at the time of the offence.

Sgt O'Shea said that following a case before the European Courts, Lin had had an opportunity to apply for an Irish passport for the child but that these offences and convictions would scupper that now.

Defence lawyer Aisling Wall said Hopkins got involved because he needed the money and she handed a demand letter for €30,000 into court from a mortgage lender.

Judge Raymond Groarke hoped the two-year sentence he imposed on Hopkins would act as a deterrent to others.

He imposed the same sentence on Lin but put a stay on the warrant until July 13 to allow her time to apply for the child's passport. The warrant would be issued at a fixed date if Lin had not been deported in the interim.

Irish Independent

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