Groom in 'sham marriage' trial appears to get cold feet
A COUPLE who claimed to have fallen in love after they were charged in relation to a sham marriage plot may not have found true love after all when a court heard today the would be groom was having second thoughts.
The Pakistani woman and Romanian man who were arrested as part of a crackdown on sham marriages have pleaded guilty to giving false and misleading information to a civil registry office.
Ioan Arminia and Nadia Mir, were arrested under Operation Vantage set up by the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) to investigate illegal immigration and marriages of convenience.
The couple who are both in their 30s and living in Bracklaghboy in Ballyhaunis Co Mayo pleaded guilty to giving false and misleading information at Castlebar Civil Registry Office on June 9, 2015.
Ms Nadir also pleaded guilty to giving false and misleading information to an officer of the Refugee Applications Commissioner on September 22 last.
The couple appeared at Castlebar District Court yesterday for sentencing where Mr Arminia referred to Ms Mir as his girlfriend. At a previous hearing Mr Arminia had admitted that the marriage was one of convenience but said the couple had since fallen in love.
However, Judge Devins heard the relationship had hit difficulties.
While Ms Mir told the court that the couple still intend to marry, Mr Arminia was less certain.
He said he still hopes to marry but not necessarily Ms Mir after the pair had a falling out about someone accessing his bank account.
“I’m still thinking about it, right now I don’t know,” he said through a Romanian interpreter.
“It is not the intention to marry necessarily her, he’s thinking to marry to marry to create a life for himself,” added the interpreter.
The couple continue to reside together with Mr Arminia financially supporting Ms Mir an asylum seeker who is appealing after her application for asylum was turned down.
The court heard that Mr Arminia had travelled to Ireland from Greece in May 2015 and was given a pack with an address, lease and utility bills on arrival.
Previously Detective Garda Breandan Ó Suilleabhain of the GNIB said he believed Arminia had been targeted by a gang who organise sham marriages because he was vulnerable.
The couple attended at Castlebar Civil Registry Office on June 9, 2015 where they claimed they were living in Ballaghaderreen, producing the utility bill as proof of address.
However, Ms Mir later admitted she was living in Killarney at the time.
Judge Mary Devins fined Mr Arminia €150, however, she opted not to fine Ms Mir yesterday as that would result in a double fine for Mr Arminia who is supporting her.
Judge Devins put Ms Mir’s case back to later this month for completion.