A MAN who arranged a sham marriage for a top Huddersfield cricketer has failed in a bid to reduce his jail sentence.
Convicted sham marriage fixer Salim Mullan, who lent his expertise to an illegal immigration conspiracy, failed in an appeal against the length of his sentence.
He had arranged for Javed Iqbal, a Pakistani national who played for Holmfirth, Skelmanthorpe and Almondbury, to marry a Leicester woman Natalie Roberts.
Linthwaite cricket club bowler, Mohammed Taj, was jailed for 18 months. Taj, of Moorbottom Road, Thornton Lodge, had agreed to be an official wedding witness and had loaned Iqbal £2,000 to pay Roberts’ boyfriend, Craig Hughes.
All three were busted by UK Border Agency officials after they arrived at Huddersfield Town Hall to go through with the fake wedding in April last year.
Mullan, of Tuskar Road, Leicester, was given two years and eight months for his part in advising the men on how to go through with the scam.
The convicted criminal appealed yesterday, but was told by Lord Justice Rix, Mr Justice Mackay and Mrs Justice Sharp that the term was justified.
The Appeal Court heard Mullan had already served a four-year sentence, passed in 2005 following conviction for organising a large number of sham marriages.
He was back in trouble again after a Huddersfield registrar became suspicious about a planned marriage between a British woman and a Pakistani man.
Mullan said he had been approached by another for help. He was not the instigator or organiser of the plot and “bitterly regretted” getting involved, he said.
His lawyers argued that his sentence was too tough. His role was peripheral and he had made little or no financial gain from being involved, the judges were told.
Rejecting his appeal, Mrs Justice Sharp said: “In our view, the judge was right to regard the appellant’s previous conviction as a significantly aggravating feature.
“Despite the fact the appellant had served that sentence, it had not deterred him from putting into practice his knowledge and experience. We don’t consider it’s correct to describe the appellant’s role as peripheral.
“His role was significant, in our view.”
Javed Iqbal was jailed for 20 months at his trial in July.