Taxpayer could be forced to hand thousands of pounds to foreign paedophile
A foreign paedophile who cannot be deported because of human rights laws is in line for a huge compensation payout after senior judges ruled he had been kept in detention illegally.
The man from the Darfur area of Sudan was convicted of two sample offences of sexual activity with a 13 year-old schoolgirl which took place in 2007, when he was in his late teens.
At the end of his four-year jail term the man, who can only be identified by the initials JS, was held in immigration detention for two years while the Home Office tried – unsuccessfully – to deport him.
Now Lord Dyson, Master of the Rolls, sitting in the Court of Appeal with Lord Justice McFarlane and Lady Justice Sharp, have unanimously ruled JS was held in custody unlawfully and he is entitled to compensation.
Although his pay-out has not yet been agreed he could receive tens of thousands of pounds based on previous similar cases.
The court ruled: “His past criminal offending, of itself, cannot be any justification for implementing or extending his time in immigration detention.”
JS came to Britain hidden in the back of a lorry in 2004, when he was thought to be aged 16, and claimed asylum.
His refugee claim was rejected but because of his age he was allowed to stay in this country until his 18th birthday.
A further application for “humanitarian protection” was being considered when he was arrested and charged with serious sexual offences against children.
Lord Justice McFarlane said: “He, together with four others, had lured schoolgirls to a house for the purposes of sexual activity. The three girls involved were aged 13 or 14.”
JS was sentenced on the basis that they were planned offences, and he knew the girl’s age. The victims were described at the time as “clearly disturbed and vulnerable” and “far from mature for their age”.
Because he was jailed for more than 12 months he was eligible for automatic deportation under the law. When JS’s jail term ended in May 2009 the Home Office kept him in immigration detention while the tried to arrange his removal to Sudan.
But in 2011 JS won an appeal in the immigration tribunal which ruled he could not be deported because he would face inhuman and degrading treatment in Sudan, in breach of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Lord Justice McFarlane said that under the law people facing deportation could only be held under immigration laws while there was a realistic prospect of removal, and it was unlawful to continue holding them because of unreasonable delays in processing their cases.
During the 12 months to August 2010, the papers in JS’s case showed “administrative activity” in the case was “unaccounted for”, the judge said.
The judge said: “The secretary of state has wholly failed to file any evidence purporting to provide an account for those periods.”
The judge ruled: “It is plain to me that at least two thirds of the 12 month period, and therefore eight months, can only be seen as falling on the unreasonable side of the line, and I would therefore hold that eights months of the total period of 15 months in immigration detention was unreasonable and therefore unlawful.”
If the Home Office fail to agree compensation with JS’s lawyers a High Court judge will rule on how much he will receive.
An earlier case involving JS at the High Court ruled that he could not be deported because he was a member of a minority tribe in Sudan, the Zaghawa, which was subject to widespread persecution.