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Lithuanian immigrant smuggler in court

PUBLISHED: 14:21 09 October 2001 | UPDATED: 15:18 03 March 2010

THE man accused of conspiring to smuggle illegal immigrants into Suffolk was arrested for the same offence in 1999, Ipswich Crown Court has heard.

On May 6 this year, Egidijus Rutkauskas, 33, of Garliyana in Lithuania, is said to have sailed with his father-in-law, 63-year-old Romualdas Janavicius, from Belgium to Levington harbour and tried to sneak 13 people into the country.

THE man accused of conspiring to smuggle illegal immigrants into Suffolk was arrested for the same offence in 1999, Ipswich Crown Court has heard.

On May 6 this year, Egidijus Rutkauskas, 33, of Garliyana in Lithuania, is said to have sailed with his father-in-law, 63-year-old Romualdas Janavicius, from Belgium to Levington harbour and tried to sneak 13 people into the country.

Customs officers seized the vessel Marija and found the Lithuanian nationals, nine men and four women, on board and contacted officials from the Immigration Service, who found them to be illegal immigrants.

Both Rutkauskas and Janavicius were arrested and have been in custody since the incident.

Janavicius pleaded guilty to facilitating the entry of illegal immigrants into the UK at a hearing on September 17 and awaits sentence while Rutkauskas has maintained a not guilty plea.

Prosecuting barrister Simon Spence told the jury that in November 1999, both men were arrested on board the Marija in similar circumstances at Lowestoft harbour after they were suspected of helping a number of illegal immigrants from Lithuania sail from Holland to Suffolk.

Rutkauskas was later released without charge while Janavicius pleaded guilty to a smuggling offence. He was jailed in April 2000 and released seven months later.

Mr Spence also claimed that when he was arrested in May, Rutkauskas had a list of some of the illegal immigrants on board and the amount of money each was due to pay for the crossing.

He told the jury: "This is a list of the people on board and this is the sum of money that they had either paid or were due to pay."

Rutkauskas was also said to have over £3,000 in US dollars and other foreign currencies in cash when he was arrested, which the prosecution allege was some of the payment made by the illegal immigrants.

Giving evidence in his defence, Rutkauskas told the jury that he sailed to England with Janavicius because he thought he was going to pick up his father-in-law's friend whose passport had expired and he had run out of money.

The trial continues today and is expected to last until tomorrow.

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