Portuguese man who tried to illegally enter Canada to be sentenced next month

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Rosie Mullaley
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He paid $25,000 for a fake passport to get into Canada.

Jose Paulo Arruda Fernandes is escorted out of provincial court in St. John’s Thursday after his sentencing hearing.

But all it bought Jose Paulo Arruda Fernandes was another trip to prison.

The 52-year-old Portuguese man —  who tried to illegally enter the country from a cruise ship in St. John’s last month — will find out next month how long he will spend in jail this time.

His sentencing hearing was held Thursday in provincial court in St. John’s.

The Crown has suggested a jail term of three years, while the defence said 12-18 months.

Judge David Orr will render his decision Nov. 15.

Fernandes pleaded guilty to two charges — using a Canadian passport to enter the country illegally and using a forged passport.

He had been on the cruise ship Eurodam, which pulled into St. John’s harbour Sept. 8. Officials discovered the passport he was using, with the name James Swift, was phony, and Fernandes had tried to do the same thing before, using the same name.

It was Fernandes’ sixth attempt to illegally enter the country.

Each time he was caught and convicted.

His most recent conviction happened April 26, 2012, when he was give a year-long jail term. He had been deported only six months before he tried again.

“It demonstrates that he has little regard for Canadian authorities,” prosecutor Robin Fowler said during Thursday’s hearing.

“With someone who has a record like this, deterrence is paramount. As the saying goes, ‘Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.’”

Fowler said an increase in jail time is the only way to deter Fernandes.

However, defence lawyer Bob Simmonds pointed out Fernandes only wanted to get into the country to be with his family, including his wife, children, grandchildren and mother, who all live here.

Fernandes had lived in Canada between 1970 and 1996, when he had landed immigrant status. He was deported after he got involved in criminal activity.

His criminal record includes convictions for such charges as assault and mischief, but Simmonds pointed out that outside the charges of trying to enter Canada, Fernandes hasn’t been in trouble with the law since 1992.

“We don’t have a man here who is a hardened criminal,” Simmonds said.

Simmonds said Fernandes had a troubled past. He had a dysfunctional family growing up, with an alcoholic father. He was expelled from his house as a child and lived on the streets. He began abusing alcohol at an early age and started getting in trouble with the law at age 15.

Simmonds went on to say that, “He wanted to reunite with his family and it was not an appropriate way of doing it, but it’s understandable human feeling to do that.”

Simmonds said Fernandes realizes now that if he has any chance of being with his family, he has to go through the appropriate channels.

 

rgillingham@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @TelyCourt

Geographic location: Canada

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