A desperate illegal immigrant who used her sister's passport to get work at a Sunderland care home wept with relief today as top judges cut her jail term.
Cynthia Acheampong, 35, of Gray Road, Hendon, Sunderland, was put behind bars for 12 months at Newcastle Crown Court on August 13.
She admitted possession of an identity document - her sister Doreen Acheampong's passport - with improper intent.
Cynthia was working at the Victoria Lodge care home in Sunderland, using the identity of her 30-year-old sister, Mr Justice Edis told London's Appeal Court.
Both sisters were arrested after immigration officers realised what was going on.
Doreen, a pharmacist, was originally a Ghanaian national, but became a naturalised UK citizen in 2010.
Cynthia had never applied for a visa to come to the UK and "undoubtedly did enter this country unlawfully", said the judge.
Doreen said she lent her passport to her sister so she could get work, as Cynthia had a six-year-old daughter and was struggling financially.
Doreen admitted making or supplying articles for use in fraud, and received a 12-month suspended jail term and 100 hours' unpaid work.
Now living in Strathbeg Drive, Dalgety Bay, Dunfermline, Doreen is likely to lose her career as a pharmacist because of her conviction, the court heard.
Brian Hegarty, the barrister for both sisters, argued their sentences were far too tough.
Mr Justice Edis agreed, reducing Cynthia's jail term by a third, to eight months, of which she will serve half.
Doreen's suspended term was also cut to eight months.
The court heard the 'genuine British passport' had been lent to Cynthia by her sister so she could avoid contact with 'those who forge passports and sell them'.
And the judge, sitting with Lady Justice Hallett and Judge Juliet May QC, said she had not used it to 'gain entry to the UK',
Mr Hegarty told the court Cynthia has applied for leave to remain in this country and her immigration case is pending.