TWO Newport men were cleared of helping to organise a sham marriage so that a Nigerian woman could stay in the country.

A jury of 11 men returned their unanimous not guilty verdict at Cardiff Crown Court yesterday in respect of Roman Horvath, 36, of Broadmead Park, having previously been directed by the judge to find his co-defendant Samuel Akudike, 41, of Commercial Road, not guilty.

Both men had been accused of helping to organise a union between Roman Horvath’s brother Robert and his bride Uzoma Cynthia Onwuha.

The defendants were both witnesses at the wedding.

Giving evidence last Friday, Mr Horvath said the two had been kissing and celebrating and he had believed the union to be genuine.

Horvath and Onwuha got married at a register office in Newport, the court heard. The Horvath brothers are EU citizens, originally from the Czech Republic, but Onwuha was not an EU citizen, the court heard.

Onwuha got married to obtain the “necessary paperwork for her to remain legally in the UK”, Jeremy Jenkins, prosecuting, said.

Originally she had come to the UK on a student visa but this was about to run out.

The court heard that Roman Horvath and Akudike both attended the wedding, which had only six guests, but were unable to answer police questions such as where the other guests were from.

Although Robert Horvath had a long-term girlfriend who was not Onwuha, Judge Thomas Crowther QC, summing up, said that Horvath said it was “common knowledge” he was seeing other women.

Judge Crowther added Horvath said he had asked his brother whether the marriage could have been a sham as he “thought it was a possibility”, but Robert reassured him it wasn’t and he believed him.

Both defendants denied the charge of assisting unlawful immigration.

Robert Horvath and Uzoma Cynthia Onwuha admitted the marriage was a sham, with Onwuha pleading guilty to obtaining leave to enter or remain in the UK by deception.

Both will be sentenced on May 19 now that Roman Horvath and Samuel Akudike’s trial has concluded.