A solicitor who was jailed for his role in an immigration conspiracy has been struck off by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.

Sheikh Muhammad Usman, admitted in 2008, was convicted last year at Croydon Crown Court of conspiracy to facilitate the commission of a breach of UK immigration law by a non-EU person. He was sentenced to seven years imprisonment. 

According to the SDT judgment, Usman was part of a group which falsified reports to enable imposters to take on the records of genuine individuals. This resulted in one man whose identity had been stolen being detained for nine days at Heathrow and Harmondsworth.

Usman continues to assert his innocence.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) alleged that, by virtue of his conviction, Usman failed to uphold the rule of law, to act with integrity or to behave in a way that maintained public trust. Usman admitted his conviction constituted a breach of SRA principles but did not admit that he was guilty of the crime itself.

The SRA also accused Usman of failing to notify the regulator of either his trial date or his subsequent conviction. Usman denied this allegation.

According to the judgment, the tribunal was not satisfied to the criminal standard of proof that Usman had not made contact or approached the SRA to provide the information in question.

However, it found the other allegation proved and said that Usman’s misconduct was ‘extremely serious’ and that a restriction order or suspension ‘would not suffice’. It added: ‘A crime had been committed which was deliberate, calculated and repeated.’

The tribunal ordered for Usman to be struck off and to pay costs of £2,500.