'Oh, my, I'm sure she meant well...'
We spend ages hammering into our students that plagiarism is Jolly Bad Show. We even set essays on the topic in which they define the term, discuss its origin and how this 'academic crime' can be avoided, and dutifully underline that knowing all this, only the utterest cad or bounder would crib some other fellow's work and hand it in as his own. Chaps like that deserve all that's coming to them, that's what they all say. Hear hear.
So when after six months of all this, one student handed in an essay obviously not her own, we expected that the cheat would be discovered and the essay disallowed. Not a bit of it. After a day or two of dithering on the part of course leaders, we got 'oh, well, we can't prove it, can we? Better just pass it, eh?'
We could have spent six months telling overseas students that they might as well plagiarise, as it will make bugger all difference in the end.