Foreigner says 'bush sickness' caused her to overstay

September 11, 2018

A New Zealand woman who overstayed her time in Jamaica by more than a year was given a suspended sentence when she appeared in the St James Parish Court last Friday, ahead of further action by the Immigration Department.

Tania-Lee Warner pleaded guilty to the charge of overstaying.

She had arrived in Jamaica on April 18, 2017, and was to have left on July 17 that year, but failed to update her status despite being offered several chances to do so.

In explaining her situation, Warner told Parish Judge Sandria Wong-Small that her failure to regularise her status was due to a prolonged period of illness.

"On August 15, 2017, I became extremely ill, as I had been poisoned by some bush that stuck me on my leg. I was trying to update my status, and if I hadn't gotten sick I would have done everything I was told to do, plus the money I came to Jamaica with was stolen," said Warner.

Wong-Small sentenced her to three months' imprisonment, suspended for one year.

The suspended sentence was given in order to facilitate any further action against Warner by the immigration department, as according to the Court of Appeal, overstaying is not an offence to be prosecuted by the lower court.

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