A man who appeared at last week’s sitting of Longford District Court charged with having a false passport had his case adjourned to allow the court time to monitor his legal status in this country.
Muhammad Meybodi (40), 7 Castle Court, Newtownforbes, Co Longford appeared before Judge Seamus Hughes charged with using a false Portuguese National Identity Card in the name of Diego Antonio Rodrigues at Castle Court, Newtownforbes on December 15, 2012.
He was also further charged with producing a false Portuguese Driving Licence in the name of Diego Antonio Rodrigues with the intention of securing an Irish passport at the Department of Justice, St Stephen’s Green on December 15, 2012.
Outlining the evidence to the court, Detective Garda Enda Daly said that on the date in question the defendant produced documentation for the passport in the name of Mr Rodrigues.
During the provision of that documentation, staff became aware of an irregularity with the defendant’s papers and the Gardaí in Longford were subsequently contacted about the matter.
“Mr Meybodi said he was Portuguese and from the Albufeira region of the country, however investigations into the matter proved this to be untrue,” confirmed Garda Daly.
The court then heard how long the defendant was in Ireland and how his first visit here was made as far back as 2002.
“He initially arrived in this country on an American Student Visa in 2002 which entitled him to stay for nine months, but he did not leave the country until early 2004 and returned again in late 2004,” Garda Daly continued.
“He applied for asylum but that was refused.”
The court then heard how Mr Meybodi was an Iranian National who had no family left in his native land and was afraid to return there for fear of persecution.
“He is well educated [has a masters in biochemistry] and is a very nice decent man who is just trying to make his way in the world,” Garda Daly continued.
“He is afraid to return to Iran because he fears he will be persecuted; his fears are well founded as he is a christian and in Iran that would be problematic for him.”
The court then heard how the defendant had been working in human rights in Iran before he came to Ireland and that under his assumed name here, he worked as a pharmacist in Dublin for seven years and was also granted citizenship.
“The Green family in Edgeworthstown have taken great care of him for the past seven years and he regards them as his family,” the Garda added.
Meanwhile, the defendant’s solicitor Frank Gearty said in mitigation, that, his client had been in Ireland for 14 years and had used his biochemistry skills to become a pharmacist from 2006-2012.
“Throughout that period in Ireland he paid his taxes all the while contributing under the false name of Diego Rodrigues,” said Mr Gearty, before pointing out that “strong recommendations” in support of his client, had now been submitted by the defendant’s friends, in support of his endeavours to secure legal status in Ireland.
“He applied for citizenship and was granted it under the false name and he also applied for the passport under the false name as well.”
Taking on board Garda Browne’s evidence and Mr Gearty’s mitigating factors, Judge Hughes said the case before him appeared to be exceptional.
He said the matter required attention and he would be happy to adjourn proceedings so that the defendant’s legal status could be monitored.
The defendant was subsequently ordered to appear back before Longford District Court on September 27 next.