No money for fine, he is brought to court
Michael Augustus Lewis, 40, pleaded guilty in Summary Court to overstaying and working without a permit since 14 March, 2006. He was arrested on 22 October and appeared before Magistrate Nova Hall three days later.
Crown Counsel Jenesha Simpson said Immigration officers went to a George Town address after receiving information. They knocked on the door of an apartment, but did not get any answer. They then contacted the landlord, who gave them access. Lewis was inside and said he did not answer the knocking because he didn’t know who was at the door.
Ms Simpson said the matter would have been dealt with by an administrative fine, but Lewis said he couldn’t pay. He was subsequently charged and brought to court.
The magistrate asked why Lewis had never regularised his immigration status.
He said he had told his boss he would like to stay working and the boss said he would put a permit in. Later, the boss said he didn’t bother about it. “I didn’t know who to confide in. Time went on …”
The magistrate commented that it had been quite a bit of time. She asked if he had any ties to the Island – brother, sister, parent – she could consider in mitigation. Lewis said he previously had a girlfriend, but they broke up.
Ms Simpson consulted with an Immigration officer present and advised there had been an amnesty for over-stayers in July 2010.
The magistrate asked Lewis why he didn’t take advantage of it.
“I never really understand it,” he said.
He also told the court he contributed to the support of a daughter and parents in his home country.
The magistrate said she could not ignore the length of time Lewis had overstayed or the fact there had been an amnesty that would have allowed him to surrender and go home without charges. She could not simply impose a fine and get rid of the matter.
That said, he had pleaded guilty and she did not see there was anything to be gained by Cayman having to house him and feed him for a long period of time. She therefore imposed concurrent terms of two months and advised Lewis of his right to appeal.
Details of the charge for working without a permit were Lewis “engaged in employment with a number of unidentified persons” without authorisation.