Jury Asked To Decide Who is Lying
Court hears contradictory evidence from Loloahi Tapui and Baroness Scotland
The jury at the trial of Baroness Scotland's former housekeeper Loloahi Tapui have been asked to decide which party is lying.
Miss Tapui, who is on trial at Southwark Crown Court for fraud, insisted Lady Scotland never saw the passport or asked about her legal status but admitted she did see her CV, pay slips and her marriage certificate when she applied for the job in Chiswick in January 2009.
“The truth of the matter is that there are lies being told here," the jury was told by the prosecution. “Ultimately you are going to have to make up you minds whether Mrs Mawhinney [Baroness Scotland's married name] lied to you. Is Miss Tapui lying to you?”
Loloahi Tapui has admitted to using a passport with a fake visa stamp but that the passport itself was genuine. She also claimed that she hadn't intended to use the passport to establish facts about herself or to earn money as a cleaner.
She told the court, “She [Lady Scotland] did not make the right checks. If she asked me if I was legal I would say no but she didn't."
The Tongan born 27 year old worked at the Chiswick home of the Attorney General for eight months until September 2009 when it was discovered that she had overstayed her visa. She was subsequently arrested along with her husband, Alexander Zivancevic, and their flat searched by immigration officers.
In a statement her publicist, Max Clifford said there were "mitigating circumstances" surrounding the charge of overstaying her visa adding "She is claiming she never misled Baroness Scotland and has never given anyone false information."
Baroness Scotland was fined £5,000 for employing Tapui. Despite calls for her resignation, the Attorney General hung onto her job after Gordon Brown said she had only committed a “technical” breach of the legislation she had helped to push through Parliament.
The trial continues. If found guilty, Tapui could face up to 10 years in prison.
April 8, 2010