Foreign national Aziz Lamari entitled to damages after deportation delay

 

The High Court has ruled that a foreign national jailed for 12 months for robbery is entitled to damages because he was detained too long while attempts were made to deport him.

A judge ruled Aziz Lamari, an Algerian citizen, should have been released last month.

By then it was clear there was no reasonable likelihood of deportation taking place within a reasonable time, and Lamari was suffering from mental illness "driven" by his detention, said the judge.

The Home Secretary was also found guilty of contempt of court because her department failed to release Lamari after it eventually accepted he should no longer be in detention and gave an undertaking to release him into suitable accommodation.

The 22-year-old Algerian national now joins a growing number of foreign criminals awarded compensation after being held too long under immigration rules pending attempts to deport.

Deputy High Court judge Barry Cotter QC said Lamari was detained after his robbery sentence came to an end in December 2010 and his deportation had been ordered.

By the time the High Court began hearing his case in May he had been held for over 17 months.

The judge said it was not in dispute that he had attempted suicide or serious harm on at least four occasions since April 2011.

Home Office lawyers argued detention before removal was clearly reasonable because of his "remarkable history of absconding and serious offending" and the risk of him re-offending.

In the nine months between July 2009 and April 2010 he was reported to have absconded three times, said Judge Cotter.

He also fled the country, was returned and was then convicted twice for offences of exposure, and later of robbery at Wood Green Crown Court in north London.

The judge said Lamari first arrived in the UK in July 2009 and was arrested within days and applied for asylum.

He was moved to Liverpool but absconded and was arrested in Cambridgeshire on August 13 after being found in the back of a lorry with three other people.

He absconded again and was arrested in Rotterdam in Holland and returned to England to have his asylum claim dealt with in the UK.

Judge Cotter said he absconded a third time in September 2009, and failed to turn up for an asylum interview a month later.

Two years later, in September 2011, he was diagnosed as having a "suicidal ideation" after making a serious suicide attempt and receiving treatment at Hillingdon hospital, north-west London.

When examined by a consultant psychiatrist in April 2012, soon after further suicide attempts, he was further diagnosed as suffering from a mixed anxiety-depressive disorder "driven" by his indefinite detention.

The judge said immigration case law stated the Home Secretary could only hold a person pending deportation for a reasonable period.

If it became clear that deportation could not take place within a reasonable period the power of detention should not be used.

Problems had arisen over getting Lamari sent back to Algeria, and it had now become clear that the Home Secretary was "effectively powerless to progress matters".

The judge said that by early September 2011 Lamari had been diagnosed as mentally ill and "there was a clear risk that the claimant would quite quickly deteriorate" as detention was "the driving factor of the mental condition".

He was "a young man now broken by the experience of custody" who was desperate to avoid further detention.

The judge ruled detention could no longer be justified after May this year, after the latest medical reports had been received and it became clear there was no realistic prospect of him being removed within a reasonable timeframe.

He said Lamari should have been released from detention, subject to suitable arrangements, by May 23 at the latest and was entitled to damages for the subsequent period of unlawful detention.

The judge ordered that the amount of damages should now be assessed, if not agreed, by the Queen's bench division of the High Court.

A UK Border Agency spokesman said an urgent review of the Lamari case was taking place.

The spokesman said: "Aziz Lamari is a failed asylum seeker who had served custodial sentences for serious offences.

"He was held in immigration detention awaiting removal to Algeria and we accept that he was not released on the date set by the court, which resulted in today's judgment.

"We are reviewing how this happened urgently."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future