A 52-year-old Portuguese man — who tried to illegally enter the country from a cruise ship in St. John’s in September — has been sentenced to 18 months in jail.
© — Photo by Rosie Gillingham/The Telegram
Jose Paulo Arruda Fernandes is escorted out of provincial court in St. John’s in this Telegram file photo..
Jose Paulo Arruda Fernandes was sentenced today in provincial court in St. John’s.
The Crown had suggested a jail term of three years, while the defence said 12-18 months was sufficient.
In handing down his decision, Judge David Orr gave Fernandes 1.5 times credit for the 69 days he's spent in custody.
Fernandes pleaded guilty last month to two charges — using a Canadian passport to enter the country illegally and using a forged passport.
He had been on the cruise ship Eurodam, which pulled into St. John’s harbour Sept. 8. Officials discovered the passport he was using, with the name James Swift, was phoney, and Fernandes had tried to do the same thing before, using the same name.
It was Fernandes’ sixth attempt to illegally enter the country.
Each time he was caught and convicted.
His most recent conviction happened April 26, 2012, when he was give a year-long jail term. He had been deported only six months before he tried again. He paid $25,000 for a phoney passport.
During the sentencing hearing, Crown prosecutor Robin Fowler had said Feenandes' actions demonstrate that he has little regard for Canadian authorities.
Defence lawyer Bob Simmonds had pointed out Fernandes only wanted to get into the country to be with his family, including his wife, children, grandchildren and mother, who all live here.
Fernandes had lived in Canada between 1970 and 1996, when he had landed immigrant status. He was deported after he got involved in criminal activity.
His criminal record includes convictions for such charges as assault and mischief, but Simmonds pointed out that outside the charges of trying to enter Canada, Fernandes hasn’t been in trouble with the law since 1992.
Simmonds had said Fernandes had a troubled past. He had a dysfunctional family growing up, with an alcoholic father. He was expelled from his house as a child and lived on the streets. He began abusing alcohol at an early age and started getting in trouble with the law at age 15.
Simmonds said Fernandes wanted to reunite with his family.