A Dominican Republic woman was brought before the Magistrate’s Court on an illegal entry charge, claiming that she broke the law for medical reasons.
Charged with one count of landing in the territory without leave from an Immigration Officer is 42-year-old Ingrid Alcantara De Polanco.
She pleaded guilty to the offence when she appeared virtually before Magistrate Ayana Baptiste-DaBreo on Tuesday.
What the court heard happened
The court heard that on a date unknown between June 27 to July 8, she landed into the territory illegally.
On July 8, while checking in at the TB Lettsome International Airport on Beef Island, Immigration officers noticed that she did not have any visible entry stamp in her passport.
She was heading out with a ticket to an undisclosed destination.
The court heard that she was asked to step aside and following discussions with the authorities, she was transported to the Road Town Police Station.
While at the station, she told law enforcers that she travelled to Tortola from St Thomas, USVI on a boat and paid $1,000 for the trip.
She further said she was assisted by an unknown male who took her to a house for a few days.
She was subsequently charged with the offence before the court.
Her attorney Nelson Samuel told the court that his client was remorseful for her actions. He further said she travelled to the territory because she was diagnosed with a ‘lump in her breast’ and wanted to go to her home country to be with her four children.
Samuel then implored the court to impose a non-custodial sentence on his client who was a beautician, masseuse and domestic worker.
After hearing his mitigation, the magistrate said she was confused because the territory’s borders are closed but the USVI is open to travellers.
Magistrate DaBreo then questioned whether there weren’t any flights from St Thomas to the Dominican Republic.
No clear response was given in that regard.
The magistrate then asked for the medical document to validate her claims. The court subsequently adjourned to tomorrow, Wednesday, July 15, when the matter will continue.
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