Romanian ex-convict awaits deportation

A man jailed for credit card fraud was released from prison yesterday — months after his sentence had ended.

The Supreme Court heard that Tiberiu Gavrila, 46, would be free until he could be deported back to his homeland of Romania.

Mr Gavrila said: “It’s very much relieving — I’m happy to be released.”

He was charged in March last year with conspiracy to remove stolen money from the island, along with Radu Asavei, 32, also a Romanian, and Eldon Robinson, 54, from St George’s.

The two Romanians were also charged with conspiracy to steal $4,340 from HSBC and the possession of at least 15 fake credit cards.

Both pleaded guilty to the offences in January this year and were sentenced to a year in prison with time in custody taken into account.

Mr Robinson pleaded not guilty to the offence and his case was dismissed on July 15 this year.

Mr Gavrila said that he was supposed to have been deported when his prison sentence ended on May 16 but could not leave because the airport was closed because of the Covid-19 crisis.

The airport reopened on June 1, but Mr Gavrila remained at the prison farm in St George’s because he did not have anywhere to stay, a requirement for bail.

Elizabeth Christopher, who represented Mr Gavrila, said he had made arrangements to stay at an Airbnb in Southampton for one week and could extend the stay if needed.

She added that Mr Gavrila was one of five people in a similar situation she had dealt with this year.

Ms Christopher said that Mr Asavei, two Bulgarian men, Vladimir Vasilev and Nicola Aleksandrov, and Angelo Toussay, a French national from the Dutch-Caribbean territory of Sint Maarten, had all been in prison for longer than their sentences because they could not be deported.

Mr Toussay and the two Bulgarian men have already been sent back to their home countries. Mr Asavei, who was released on August 10, is still on the island and is living with a friend in Pembroke.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Immigration told the court that Mr Gavrila could be deported by the end of his weeklong stay.

But she admitted that communication with Britain and the United States, possible transit points to Romania, had been slow.

She added: “We might have to end up going through Amsterdam.”

Mrs Justice Charles-Etta Simmons adjourned the case until October 1 for an update on Mr Gavrila’s deportation date and potential extended stay.

She ordered Mr Gavrila to report to Hamilton Police Station three times a week.

It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding court cases. As we are legally liable for any libellous or defamatory comments made on our website, this move is for our protection as well as that of our readers.

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