27 July 2012


The Canberra Times reports yesterday's conviction in ACT Magistrates Court of a man who obtained a passport under a false name and travelled on it for eight years.

Philip Lindsay Byrne  pleaded guilty to one charge of making a false statement to obtain a passport and another charge of producing a false or misleading document. He apparently purchased a fake birth certificate in Queensland for $500 and used it to apply for a passport under the name Philip Byne in November 2004.

During the following eight years  he used that passport to enter and leave Australia 27 times. After detection (not discussed in the report) Byrne indicated that he "obtained the passport because he had been the subject of an extortion attempt in the Philippines".
The court heard he readily admitted the offence to authorities and gave them a full explanation, pleading guilty at the first opportunity. Byrne's lawyer told the court his client had family and a partner in the Philippines and regarded the country as his home. He had only returned to Australia to receive treatment for cancer and to visit his elderly father. 
Byrne had since been issued with a legitimate passport.