Wife jailed for sham marriage

Last Updated Fri, 01 Oct 2004 12:51:33 EDT

EDMONTON - A bride from India who told her new husband she married him for his Canadian citizenship was sentenced on Thursday to four months in jail in Edmonton for communicating false information.

It may be Canada's first successful prosecution of a marriage of convenience, said federal Crown prosecutor Erin Eacott.

While marrying for citizenship may be common, it's hard to prosecute such cases because both spouses are usually in on the sham, said Eacott.

Not in this case.

In April 2001, Satnam (Sam) Parmar, a 38-year-old drugstore supervisor, went to India to visit relatives. Family members there arranged for him to meet Karmjeet Jaswal, an elementary school teacher.

Their four-day courtship ended in a marriage proposal and a big wedding with 200 guests. Parmar, who looked forward to married life and children, returned to Edmonton, while his new wife began the immigration process.

A year later, when her visa was finally processed, Parmar met Jaswal at the Edmonton International Airport with chocolates and a bouquet of flowers.

But at the luggage carousel, Jaswal told him her true reasons for marrying. She said she never loved him and she wouldn't consummate their marriage.

The next day, she told his aunt she'd only married Parmar in India so she could come to Canada and later bring her mother and nephews.

Parmar says he never knew of his wife's scheme and he was heartbroken when he learned of it. He then contacted immigration officials. After a lengthy investigation, they laid charges of communicating false information, a rarely used charge under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

At her trial, Jaswal said she left the marriage because her husband demanded money from her family as soon as she arrived in Edmonton. But during sentencing on Thursday, the trial judge said he found her testimony full of inconsistencies.

Parmar and Jaswal divorced last December. The Canada Border Services Agency must now determine if she should be deported.

Written by CBC News Online staff