Suspected Jamaican rapist banned from UK for a decade as police employ new tactic

Victory for new police unit Operation Nexus raises concerns at criminal cases being shifted to immigration

Crime Correspondent

A suspected Jamaican sex-offender charged five times but never convicted for allegedly raping vulnerable women has been banned from Britain for a decade in a controversial new police tactic to target foreign criminals.

Lincoln Farquharson, 46, was sent back to Jamaica last month after a judge ruled that he posed a significant risk to women even though he was never convicted at any of the three trials he faced in 2007. He was last arrested and charged after an alleged rape at gunpoint in 2011, but prosecutors declined to press ahead with the case against him.

Instead his case was passed to a new police unit - Operation Nexus - which had him removed after 13 years in Britain and a protracted legal wrangle at an immigration tribunal in a case based on a 337-page police dossier.

Detectives had claimed that Mr Farquharson, who was also accused of being a drug user and domestic abuser, had specially selected his victims because of their vulnerability. He had claimed that the sex acts were consensual. Despite his removal from Britain after being held for 16 months in secure accommodation, it is not clear if he faces any restrictions in Jamaica.

The case represented an early victory for the unit which works with the Home Office to deport foreign nationals even though they may have committed no serious offences in London.

Police expect to refer 100 arrested suspects every week for possible removal and said that they had already identified 40 predatory sex offenders convicted overseas during the project.

“We will continue to work with our partners to identify and remove those foreign nationals who have avoided criminal prosecution but whose pattern of behaviour means they represent a risk to the British public,” said Det Supt Stuart Dark, of the Metropolitan Police.

However, civil rights groups have warned that difficult to solve crimes could instead be shifted to become immigration cases with a lower burden of proof required to remove them from the country.

And Mr Farquharson's solicitor Howard Cheng said: “It is a concern that the once famed idiom of 'innocent until proven guilty' no longer seems to apply, when the Home Office, with the assistance of the Police through Operation Nexus, are able to refuse an applicant's request for leave to remain in the UK on the basis of unproven criminal allegations.”

The 100-strong police unit was set up in November last year after intelligence showed that 27 per cent of those arrested in London were foreign nationals. Police and Border Agency officials were posted in every London custody centre to investigate the backgrounds of everyone arrested.

Foreign suspects found to have outstayed visas or had a history of offending in their home countries have been targeted for possible removal to prevent crimes being committed in the capital.

A Romanian arrested for shoplifting was shown to be wanted for more than 60 serious offences including robbery, grievous bodily harm and kidnapping in Eastern Europe.

The tactic has raised concerns because the standard of proof required to deport someone whom Home Secretary Theresa May considers is not “conducive to the public good” is less than that needed for criminal trials.

Rita Chadha, chief executive of the Refugee and Migrant Forum of East London which is monitoring the unit, said: “They are doing the Home Office's job by acting as immigration officers.”

The organisation representing immigration lawyers said there were concerns that people could be removed from the country without their cases being properly examined.

“If it's not properly tested then there will always be a concern,” said Alison Harvey, general secretary of the Immigration Law Practitioners' Association. “There's a fine line between intelligence, rumour and guilt by association.”

Immigration Minister Mark Harper said: “The success of this operation proves that foreign nationals who continue to offend and pose a threat to the public will be arrested and removed from the UK.”

Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012
voicesAnd nobody from Ukip said babies born to migrants should be classed as migrants, says Nigel Farage
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.
peopleThe idea has been greeted enthusiastically by the party's MPs
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
Arts and Entertainment
Stella Gibson is getting closer to catching her killer
tvReview: It's gripping edge-of-the-seat drama, so a curveball can be forgiven at such a late stage
Brazilian football legend Pele pictured in 2011
peopleFans had feared the worst when it was announced the Brazil legand was in a 'special care' unit
i100(More than you think)
Brendan Rodgers seems more stressed than ever before as Liverpool manager
FOOTBALLI like Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
The number of GP practices with 10 or more doctors has grown by 75 per cent
Phyllis Dorothy James on stage during a reading of her book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' last year
peopleJohn Walsh pays tribute to PD James, who died today
Benjamin Stambouli celebrates his goal for Tottenham last night
Life and Style
Dishing it out: the head chef in ‘Ratatouille’
food + drinkShould UK restaurants follow suit?
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game