A man, who was deported from Canada, is accused of forging a Guyana passport which he used to conduct land-related business at the Deeds Registry.
Andrew Hart was charged with intent to defraud the Guyana government by conspiring with persons known or unknown to forge a Guyana passport R012359 purporting to show that the travel document was issued by the Central Immigration and Passport Office (CIPO).
Hart pleaded guilty with an explanation when prompted by Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine Beharry.
The matter was adjourned until the afternoon court session, when the defendant changed his plea to not-guilty. As a result he was granted bail in the sum of $100,000. The matter will be called again on July 19 2013 for statements.
According to the facts as presented by Prosecutor Vernette Pindar, on July 4 2013, Hart went to the Deeds Registry to uplift a transport. Pindar explained that during the process it was discovered that the signature on the Power of Attorney was false, resulting in the defendant being asked to present a form of identification. Hart then presented a machine-readable passport in favor of one Winston Cockfield; who was the registered owner of the transport, but this too was suspected to be false. The court heard that checks were made at the CIPO and it was found that the passport number belonged to one Bibi Zamena Kennedy. The defendant was arrested and he said in a statement that he was asked by one Manix Caton to go to the Deeds Registry and uplift the transport in favor of Cockfield. Pindar concluded that efforts were made to contact that person and this proved futile.
When given a chance to speak, Hart gave an extensive statement during which he confessed to being a deportee from Canada for some two and a half years now, and that during the time of the incident he was trying to acquire a passport to leave the country again. He said that some time back he met Cockfield, “he looked like an immigration officer or a government official. He told me that he could get me a passport fast”. The defendant continued that Cockfield told him he needed to get two passport sized photos which he handed over. Hart continued that on July 4 he was standing on the road when Cockfield, accompanied by another man approached him in a vehicle and told him that he (the defendant) needed to assist him with something after which he (Cockfield) could help him with the passport. In a somewhat confusing story, the court learned that the defendant was taken somewhere to get his passport fixed and sometime (before or after) he was taken to the Deeds Registry to uplift the transport.
Hart concluded his discourse by informing the Magistrate that he knew nothing of the intent to commit fraud and he pleaded for mercy, adding that his mother was sick.