Tue | Mar 31, 2020

Judge rejects attempt to stop UK Home Office from deporting Jamaicans

Published:Monday | February 10, 2020 | 3:19 PM
People demonstrate outside the Jamaican embassy in London over the country’s cooperation with deportation flights. (Photo: Guy Smallman/Getty Images)

A high court judge has refused an emergency application to halt a charter flight scheduled to leave the United Kingdom on Tuesday with about 50 Jamaicans on-board.

The UK Guardian reports that Justice Sir Nicholas Mostyn refused an application from law firm Duncan Lewis, solicitors on behalf of 13 Jamaica-born men due to be put on the flight leaving the UK at 6:30 a.m.

The lawyers argued that the home secretary, Priti Patel, had acted unlawfully by forcing the men on to the plane, had breached human rights legislation and denied them adequate access to legal advice, according to the UK Guardian.

It was further reported that their application to the high court to halt the flight added that the Home Office’s announcements in the media and in parliament about the charter flight would make the men being deported a “public spectacle” if they were returned to Jamaica and place them at risk.

The grounds for the refusal have not yet been made public.

Duncan Lewis was making further emergency legal applications to try to halt the flight.

According to the Guardian, some individuals due to fly have won the right to stay in the UK for the time being, after a separate application to the upper tribunal of the immigration chamber.

They reportedly include Akeem Finlay, whose solicitor, Naga Kandiah, welcomed the decision, but condemned the Home Office’s plan to deport so many men who would leave partners and children behind.

“It seems there is an inherent disregard for the integrity of the family unit and the welfare of children,” he said.

A second judicial review was lodged on behalf of the charity Detention Action.

It follows the launch of the charity’s legal action against the Home Office last week arguing that because the phone network for O2 has been down in the area immediately next to Colnbrook and Harmondsworth immigration removal centres near Heathrow, detainees have been denied the right to have five working days to contact and instruct lawyers after they received notice from the Home Office that they would be removed on Tuesday’s flight.

Rishi Sunak, the chief secretary to the Treasury, said those being forcibly removed had committed “very serious offences”.

But the 13 detainees due to board Tuesday’s flight described a range of less serious offences.

More than 150 cross-party MPs have called for Boris Johnson to halt the flight, citing a range of concerns.

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