A man from Watford has gone on trial accused of trying to exchange a fake Portuguese driving licence for a UK one.
Oumar Kalala-Paris is alleged to have applied to the DVLA in March 2017 to change his licence for a British licence because he was hoping to land a job.
St Albans Crown Court was told he had arrived the U.K. the previous year having previously been living in France.
Prosecutor Nicola Roberson said he sent his licence, along with a signed application form, to the DVLA.
It arrived in the post on March 21 that year but, because of a number of printing discrepancies on the licence, said the prosecutor, staff became suspicious.
She said the licence was subjected to a series of tests and, as a result, the conclusion was that it was a fake.
Kalala-Paris, who is 56, was arrested at his home in Oakdene Road, Watford on May 24 and told the officers the licence had been issued 15 years before when he lived in Portugal.
He is alleged to have told the officers: “How was I supposed to know it was fake. If I had known it was fake, I wouldn’t have tried to swap it or change it.”
The defendant is then said to have told police he wanted to change the licence for a UK licence because he had applied for a job with the Royal Mail who had told him he needed a UK one.
He claimed he had lived and worked in a number of countries in Europe over the years and had never had any problems regarding the licence.
The jury was told the defendant claimed to have passed a driving test in Portugal in 2001 or 2002 but, in 2005/6, had been granted a fresh licence to drive lorries and, as far as he was concerned, he believed it to be genuine.
Miss Roberson said: “The crown say he must have believed it to be fake.”
She said it couldn’t have been issued by the Portuguese authorities.
In the witness box Mr Kalala-Paris said he had moved to Portugal with his family for a better life from the Congo.
In 1991 he had got married in Portugal and eventually moved to France, before coming to the UK in 2016.
He pleads not guilty to possessing an identity document with improper intention.