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Different visa issues lead to similar sentences in separate cases for Albanian and Russian

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An Albanian 36-year-old man and a Russian 49-year-old woman were both handed suspended sentences by the same court in separate cases earlier today regarding forged documents inspired by visa issues.

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Russian, Zhanna Vegele was charged with giving a forged lease agreement to Identity Malta in order to extend her visa to live on the island; while the Albanian, Aurel Cepele, was charged with using a fake Greek passport to go to the UK from Malta since he didn’t have the appropriate visas.

Ms Vegele, who has been living in Malta for the last decade, was caught out by Identity Malta after the presented them with a fake lease agreement on her residence. The reason was due to her unstable relationship with her partner with whom she lived which couldn’t qualify as her official residence.

She was specifically charged with presenting false documentation on 9 June and prior to the date in order to benefit herself or others, as well as being charged with committing any other kind of forgery or using forged documents.

The court presided by Magistrate Charmaine Galea sentenced Ms Vegele to eight months in prison suspended for two years. The prosecution was led by Inspector Victor Aquilina while the accused’s defence was led by Dr Helen Caruana.

Regarding the case of Mr Cepele, the Albanian was charged with using a fake Greek passport in order to travel from Malta to the UK and was subsequently arrested in the UK and sent back to Malta. The defence, led by Dr Joseph Ellis, argued that it was uncertain whether or not the Maltese court actually held the jurisdiction for this case, but it was pointed out that since the criminal act was initiated in Malta, then it was perfectly justified.

The reason why Mr Cepele didn’t use his Albanian passport to get to the UK is because he didn’t have the right visa for England. Regarding the argument which the prosecution, led by Inspector Mario Haber, put forth about the gravity of the crime, Dr Ellis argued that there have been no such numerous incidents of problems with violence and criminality from Albanians, as the prosecution was implying.

The defence also insisted that Mr Cepele has a clean conduct and it appealed to the prosecution to agree that a suspended sentence was the way to go. Magistrate Galea concluded that, considering the confirmation of the initial guilty plea and the evidence brought forward, she had no doubt of the man’s guilt and so he was sentenced to 12 months in prison suspended for three years.