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Hicham Yezza was today found guilty of lying to immigration officials about his right to stay in the country.
Yezza, 30, told officials he had “lost” his passport which he claimed had been stamped, giving him rights to remain in the UK. When police searched his house last May, however, the passport was found among a collection of other documents, and had no such stamp.
Hicham Yezza was first alerted to authorities when he applied for a provisional driving licence in 2007, as the DVLA noticed his passport had no stamps in it and informed the immigration service. Yezza told immigration officer Thomas Hartwell that his passport had been stolen in March 2006, and that he had been sent a new passport – explaining the lack of stamps.
Prosecutor Joe Spicer said: “When the passport was examined it became clear that what he [Hicham Yezza] told Mr. Hartwell in interview was a lie…Not only had the passport not been stolen but it was clear there was no stamp in his passport allowing him to stay.”
Hicham Yezza said he was “shocked” to find his old passport, which he thought was stolen.
After a two-day trial at Northampton Crown Court, a jury of seven men and four women today took less than half-an-hour to convict Yezza of securing avoidance of enforcement action by deceptive means.
The current trial comes after Hicham Yezza’s arrest and subsequent release without charge for terrorism offences last year. Although no evidence whatsoever was found linking Yezza to terrorist activities, his passport – with no visa stamp beyond 2003 – was found during investigations.