- France - immigration - UK
French local councillor and son jailed for smuggling immigrants
French councillor Christiane Chocat and her son were sentenced to three and five years sentences by a Portsmouth court for smuggling Vietnamese immigrants on a ferry from Cherbourg.
AFP - A French councillor and her son were jailed in Britain on Friday for helping smuggle 16 Vietnamese immigrants into the country.
Christiane Chocat, 51, a councillor in Lumigny-Nesles-Ormeaux southeast of Paris, was sentenced to three years, while her son Benjamin Chocat, 20, was jailed for five years by a court in Portsmouth, southern England.
The pair were convicted of bringing over 13 men and three women in a hire van on a ferry from Cherbourg in France to Portsmouth, hidden behind boxes of shrimp noodles.
They were arrested as they got off the ferry and the immigrants were returned to France that night.
Chocat and his mother were both charged with assisting unlawful entry into a European Union member state under the Immigration Act 1971.
The maximum penalty for helping illegal immigration is 14 years in prison, but this kind of crime usually attracts a sentence of between 18 and 30 months.