Jury sworn in for 'sham marriage' trial

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The Independent Online

A jury was sworn in today ahead of the trial of a vicar accused of conducting sham marriages involving illegal immigrants.

The Rev Alex Brown, 61, was arrested at his home in Blomfield Road, St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, in June last year following a joint investigation between the UK Border Agency and Sussex Police.

More than 180 marriages, mainly between non-EU nationals and EU nationals, were allegedly carried out at Brown's church in the seaside town over a two-year period.

He faces a charge of conspiring to facilitate illegal immigration along with two other defendants.

The Rev Michael Adelasoye, 50, of St Matthews Drive, St Leonards-on-Sea, and Ukrainian national Vladymyr Buchak, 33, of Anglesea Terrace, St Leonards-on-Sea, also each face a charge of conspiring to facilitate illegal immigration.

After swearing in the seven-man, five-woman jury at Lewes Crown Court, Judge Richard Hayward sent them home until 10.30am on Wednesday when the trial will be opened.

Buchak was remanded in custody while Brown and Adelasoye were given extended bail. The case is now expected to last up to six weeks.