UK Liberty

disturbing, shocking and serial shortcomings at the Home Office says judge

Posted in law and order, politicians on liberty by ukliberty on February 5, 2008

A person, SK, was detained pending deportation.

Not a nice man, as the judge said, “a convicted sex offender (the reason why he is being deported) and a failed asylum seeker whose claim to the protection of the Geneva Convention was properly found by the Secretary of State, upheld by an Immigration Judge on appeal, to be false”, also with convictions for bail offences and common assault.

But, as the judge went on to say, “SK will evoke sympathy in few hearts but everyone is protected by the law, by the rule of law. It matters not what a person has done. Outlawry has long been abolished.”

In this case, he was unlawfully detained for a substantial period of time, owing to a bizarre failure of the Home Office to observe the law and indeed its own rules.

The strongly worded judgement paints a disturbing picture of failures at the Home Office, including:

  • ignoring letters sent by SK’s legal representatives (CAB and solicitors);
  • lack of “any evidence at all in answer to the serious allegations being made by and on behalf of S”;
  • despite clear rules and statements to the contrary there was “no review at all during the first ten months of SK’s detention”;
  • there should have been 22 monthly reviews in all, but throughout the period of his detention there were only ten, and only six of those “were conducted by an official at the correct level of seniority”;
  • he was sent misleading monthly progress reports, by a system of “casual mendacity”.

    The Home Secretary’s “complete failure to review SK’s detention for the first ten months, and thereafter only sporadically and inadequately for a further year, defy the Secretary of State’s own policy, SK’s human rights and the rule of law”; furthermore, “detention in circumstances where SK was deprived of the safeguards prescribed by law and by the Secretary of State’s policy was plainly arbitrary and unlawful, striking at the very heart of the principle enshrined in Article 5, which is to protect against arbitrary detention.”

    I have to say that the melancholy facts that have been exposed as a result of these proceedings are both shocking and scandalous. They are shocking even to those who still live in the shadow of the damning admission by a former Secretary of State that a great Department of State is ‘unfit for purpose’. They are scandalous for what they expose as the seeming inability of that Department to comply not merely with the law but with the very rule of law itself.

    Remember, this is a department responsible for upholding the law.

    [In] this judgment I have had to express a whole catalogue of concerns about the way in which the Secretary of State’s officials have dealt with SK’s case. As I have said in paragraph [51], the picture which emerges is deeply disturbing, indeed profoundly shocking. These are matters going to the liberty of the subject. They are matters of the first importance. This makes the serial shortcomings of the Home Office all the more concerning. I trust that no judge will ever again be faced with such a state of affairs.

    Unfortunately, they might, as the judge himself said,

    It does not seem to have been unique, for on 22 January 2007 another official added to the Minute the comment “this is another pretty appalling case”

    One Response

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    1. popsy claire said, on February 21, 2008 at 9:21 pm

      i think it’s not shocking for me to hear about the home’s a mess.full of old conservative white heads.
      i am a victim of their injustice.deep dowm in me there is a wound.
      they forced me to live sepaerately from my little baby suffers from the absence of father is so difficult.i can’t see my husband.
      i am in such deep pain.but things will change one day.that home office needs to be thoyght a good lesson.
      if i can find help from this media i shall be happy.
      thank you

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