The Attorney General has said that her former housekeeper in London told her she had nothing to worry about regarding her immigration status in the UK, the Press Association reports.
Baroness Scotland said Loloahi Tapui told her she knew who she was and understood why it was important that everything was done correctly when she applied for a job as her cleaner in September last year.
But Tapui lied and had overstayed her visa by four years, Southwark Crown Court in London was told.
The jury of eight men and four women heard that Baroness Scotland, the chief law officer for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, was fined £5,000 for failing to keep copies of documents which purported to show Tapui’s entitlement to work in the UK. Asked why she had not done so, Baroness Scotland – who asked to be referred to as Patricia Mawhinney throughout the trial – said: “It’s something I bitterly regret now. Frankly, I believed her.”
In the interview on January 23, 2009, Baroness Scotland said she had only told Tapui that she was a lawyer and wanted to make sure that Tapui “understood how important honesty was to me and my family”. She said: “I told her that it was very important that whoever worked for me, as I was a lawyer, should be entitled to work in this country.”
She told the jury that when Tapui returned to her Chiswick home the following day with the documents showing her entitlement to work in the UK, Tapui told her: “I know who you are.”
Tapui’s husband, also a lawyer, had recognised the name Patricia Mawhinney and told her that her potential employer was the Attorney General, the court heard. Baroness Scotland told the court: “She said, ‘Don’t worry, we understand your need for security and your need to do everything correctly. ‘Don’t worry’, she said. Asked about the documents, Baroness Scotland said: “Everything she showed me tended to verify the information that she had given.”
Baroness Scotland added that she had asked to see Tapui’s passport, her national insurance documents, her P45, any documents which showed her entitlement to work in the UK and even her marriage certificate.
Tapui, 27, of Sutton Court Road, Chiswick, west London, admits possessing a passport with a counterfeit visa stamp between June 7 2006 and September 19 2009, but denies using it to establish facts about herself and earn money. The false stamp purported to be issued on September 12 2005 and claimed she had been granted leave to remain in the UK on certain conditions until September 12 2008.
Tapui denies intending to use the false identity document “for establishing, ascertaining or verifying registrable facts about herself”, including her “identity and residential status”. She also denies fraud by dishonestly making a false representation that she was entitled to work in the UK.
Source: The Press Association