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The Life and Times Of Hastings’ Rogue Anglican Vicar Alex Brown

HEAR about Anglican vicar Alex Brown who set about marrying lots of immigrants in Hastings because he… Well, we don’t know why he did it. Maybe he wanted people to believe in the same god he does and experience eternal salvation through prayer and songs. Maybe he just wanted reassurance that what he does is worthwhile.  We all know religion is based on a fact. Right?

Writes Richard Bartholomew:

AN interesting tale of globalization, from the Anglican church of St Peter and St Paul in St Leonards-on-Sea on the south coast of England; the Independent (among others) reports:

A jury at Lewes Crown Court decided that Vladymyr Buchak, a Ukrainian national, Michael Adelasoye, a Nigeria-born solicitor, and the Anglican vicar Alex Brown were all guilty of conspiring to breach Britain’s immigration laws by organising hundreds of bogus weddings.

In the unremarkable church, hundreds of West Africans tied the knot with impoverished local Eastern Europeans who were paid up to £3,000 to be a bride or husband for the day.

[Buchak] targeted vulnerable Eastern Europeans who were struggling to make ends meet… The West Africans entered the scam through Adelasoye, a 50-year-old immigration solicitor who lived locally and preached at the Ark of Hope evangelical church in Hastings.

…[Brown’s] parish, a predominantly white area to the west of Hastings, had suddenly become one of most cosmopolitan corners of the South East, with 90 mixed race couples marrying from one road alone.

Brown’s motives remain a mystery: was he “grasping” for cash (the Sun) and “preying” on “desperate” East Europeans (as the prosecutor claimed)? Did he feel sorry for Africans facing deportation and decide to break the law to assist their efforts to remain in the UK? Or was he, as he suggested in his own defence, simply overwhelmed by a situation he found himself in?

…”I’m not trained in immigration law. I can say that now looking in hindsight.”

Earlier, he told the court he felt pressured by the “constant train” of foreign nationals coming to him wanting to get married and would lead to him drinking up to three pints of cider an evening, but he denied touching spirits.

He said: “It was the pressure of work and the constant harassment of applicants.

“They didn’t want to wait for a marriage. They wanted it the next day or the next week.”

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Posted: 30th, July 2010 | In: Reviews | Comment