A South African man was fined $1,000 in the Magistrate’s Court after he was found to be residing illegally in the British Virgin Islands for roughly eight months.
Richard Currie pleaded guilty to the offence when he appeared before Magistrate Ayanna Baptiste-DaBreo on Monday.
Currie has one week to pay the fine. In default of not paying, the offender will spend two months at Her Majesty’s Prison in Balsam Ghut.
“I don’t see any reason to impose imprisonment,” Magistrate Ayanna Baptiste-DaBreo said before imposing the fine.
In the meantime, Currie has been placed on remand until his fine was paid considering that he has no legal status in the territory.
Magistrate DaBreo said the question of whether he would be deported or given a chance to find employment was a matter for the Immigration Department.
What the court heard happened
The court heard that Currie was employed at a well-known food and beverage establishment on the sister island of Anegada.
The court, however, heard that he had a falling-out with his employer in March and subsequently lost his job.
Despite this, he reportedly remained in the territory until November 12, 2019 — some ten days after his now-cancelled work permit would have expired.
It was then he learnt that his permit had been cancelled by his former employer and he was illegal in the territory.
He was subsequently interviewed under caution and later charged for overstaying.
When asked if he received a dismissal letter from his employer, he responded in the negative. However, WhatsApp messages between the Currie and his former employer confirmed that he was informed that he was unemployed for months.
“He cancelled my work permit without my knowledge. I am sorry for doing that. I didn’t realize it was wrong. I am sorry,” Currie told the court.
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