Use of forged travel documents on the rise, police inspector tells court

A 33-year-old was handed a suspended sentence after admitting to using a fake Italian passport

(File Photo)
(File Photo)

A police inspector working immigration cases has warned that travel to and from Malta using forged documents is on the rise, as he arraigned a 33-year-old Malian man who admitted to using a forged travel document to leave Malta.

Before magistrate Rachel Montebello this morning, Inspector Darren Buhagiar charged Issa Traore with possession of a forged Italian identity document.

Traore was apprehended at the airport as he was boarding a flight to Rome’s Fiumicino airport yesterday.

He explained to police that he had obtained the forged document from an acquaintance and had come to Malta from Italy, where he resides, to visit a friend after being refused humanitarian protection here.

After some language-related confusion as to whether the accused was pleading guilty or not guilty, a guilty plea was registered.

Legal aid defence counsel lawyer Yanika Bugeja asked the court for clemency and to afford her client a suspended sentence.

Inspector Buhagiar did not object, pointing out that the accused would be returned to Italy immediately if a suspended sentence was given.

He pointed out, however, that cases like this were getting more regular and asked that the suspended sentenced be towards the maximum.

The Court, having heard the submissions, handed the man a two-year prison sentence, which was suspended for three years.

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