We looked recently at the case of a woman who pretended to be a barrister, albeit she was close to qualifying. On 13th August 2015 we learned of someone who was less qualified, but took it a lot further – meet Mohammed Kabba.
Mr Kabba is ‘a single man with no family and currently resides in a bail hostel in Birmingham. He has a history of violence‘ who had ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain – the ability to stay in the UK without restrictions, but he is not a British Citizen).
For reasons that weren’t financial, but related to a ‘misguided but genuine belief ‘ in the merits of the case of Edith Asoluka. Ms Asoluka was an overstayer and was due to be deported.
There is a procedure whereby a High Court Judge (and sometimes more than one) is always ‘on call’ 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to deal with any urgent legal matter that arises. This can be in any area of law – a privacy injunction, a family case to stop someone leaving the country, etc etc.
An application for a telephone injunction on behalf of another needs to be conducted by a solicitor or barrister for obvious reasons.
Mr Kabba, who was not a lawyer, called up Sir John Mitting, a High Court Judge who was on duty at the time, to seek an injunction to stop Ms Asoluka being removed. Mitting J refused this application, but undeterred Mr Kabba called Sir Stephen Richards (better known as Richards LJ, a Judge of the Court of Appeal) to seek an injunction from him. This was also refused.
It seems that Mr Kabba pretended to be a solicitor on both occasions. Although this is a criminal offence in itself and there are separate criminal offences for providing immigration legal advice if unregulated, it seems that Mr Kabba was charged with Perverting the Course of Justice.
He had a trial with both Mitting J and Richards LJ giving evidence (pity the poor defence advocate who was lined up to cross-examine those two – although Mr Kabba sacked two sets of legal teams and ended up representing himself). It is not clear what the defence was, but Mr Kabba was convicted.
He was sentenced to 16 months in prison.
As we have commented before, a prison sentence is pretty much inevitable for this offence.
Given the seriousness of the offence, and the fact that there was a trial, a sentence of immediate prison was always going to be the outcome.
As to the length – although 16 months is a fair whack of time, this is the sort of case where Mr Kabba could have ended up with a lot longer than this, in some ways he can count himself fortunate.