A substantial fine was handed down to a businessman who said he did not know a friend did not have a work permit at Arklow District Court on Wednesday, October 20.
Rani Ali Raza, trading as Fones, 30 Main Street, Arklow, pleaded guilty to a charge of no employment permit at the same address on February 12, 2020.
The court heard on the day in question, inspectors visited the shop and found an individual working who had an out-of-date asylum seeker’s card, but did not have a work permit. On August 14, 2020, a sample records check was carried out, which identified a number of issues. These have since been rectified. The defendant had no previous convictions.
Barrister James Kavanagh told the court that the defendant was 28 years old and a Pakistani national who had been living in Ireland for seven years. On the day in question, a friend had been helping in the shop. The defendant had not known his friend’s visa had expired. He had been assured by his friend that he had the required work permit. Letters of reference and an apology were handed into the court. Mr Kavanagh said the defendant had taken a business in Phibsborough and had brought a €500 donation for the court poor box. Mr Kavanagh asked Judge David Kennedy for leniency, noting that any conviction would have an impact on the defendant’s ability to apply for naturalisation.
In response to questions from Judge Kennedy, the inspectors said they did not have a record of when the asylum seeker’s card had expired. However, permission to work would have to be given by the Department of Justice.
Judge Kennedy said the defendant’s claim that he had not known his friend’s status did not “ring true” . He “would have known the situation” due to their friendship. In these circumstances, a donation to the court poor box could not be accepted. He said there is a severe penalty for this charge as businesses can “take advantage of people who are not able to make complaints”.
As the defendant had no previous convictions, Judge Kennedy imposed a fine of €1,000 with four months to pay. Leave to appeal was set at €500, half cash.