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Legal battle over ‘unlawful detention’ of Jamaican ex-banker

Home Office officers “unlawfully detained” a Jamaican banker who’s going through deportation on Wednesday, his attorneys say.

James Matthews, 33, was awaiting the result of his application for depart to stay earlier than being detained in Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre earlier this month and labelled an “overstayer”. He stays in detention forward of a constitution flight that’s set to take away round 20 individuals who all have sturdy ties to Britain.

The former Jamaica National Bank worker had utilized for depart to stay on the idea of his relationship with a British citizen in July 2020, however the Home Office stated this application was refused on 2 February this year. However, Mr Matthews says neither he nor his earlier authorized representatives have been notified about this or served with the refusal determination.

In mild of this, his representatives at MTC Solicitors say he’s nonetheless lawfully resident within the UK, with an in-country proper of attraction, that means Mr Matthews’ detention is illegal, as could be his removing from this nation.

A press release from Alison Law Solicitors, Mr Matthews’ earlier authorized consultant, confirms that it didn’t obtain a refusal letter from the Home Office regardless of officers’ claims on the contrary.

The doc, seen by The Independent and dated 16 May, reads: “I confirm that Alison Law Solicitors did not receive a decision from the SSHD Home Office dated 2 February 2022 in relation to Mr James Matthews by post, email or any other form of correspondence.”

James Matthews was detained in Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre earlier this month

(Supplied)

A pre-action letter despatched to the Home Office by MTC Solicitors requested their consumer’s speedy removing from detention, the cancellation of his deportation order, a replica of the refusal determination letter, and particulars of the place, how and when the refusal determination was served on their consumer.

The Home Office replied attaching a replica of the refusal determination letter, saying it was despatched to Alison Law Solicitors.

“This refusal letter was not received by our client, nor by his legal representatives at the time, which they have confirmed by way of an email,” solicitor Naga Kandiah informed The Independent. “We have now been left with no other choice but to pursue judicial review proceedings, which is a waste of court time and the client’s and taxpayers’ money.”

Mr Kandiah stated that Mr Matthews had “done everything in his power to comply with the rules” and accused the Home Office of “failing to justify their inhumane and cruel decision to detain him and put him on the charter flight”.

Moreover, within the occasion that the Home Office refuses an application for depart to stay, the division is required to refund the immigration well being surcharge inside six weeks, in keeping with its personal steerage. To date, Mr Matthews says he’s but to obtain this refund from the Home Office.

‘I am coping as well as I can, but I’m nonetheless traumatised,’ says Mr Matthews

(Supplied)

“I’ve abided by every single rule. How can I be an ‘overstayer’ when the Home Office hasn’t responded to my application to remain here? As far as I was concerned, I have an active application,” Mr Matthews informed The Independent from his cell at Harmondsworth final Friday.

“I’m far from OK; I’m used to having my freedom. I am coping as well as I can, but I’m still traumatised. When they were banging the front door and then I heard someone say my name, I was shocked. I’ve never committed a crime in either this country or Jamaica.”

Mr Matthews got here to the UK in October 2019 on a customer visa, and was unable to return to Jamaica on the time this expired in April 2020, as journey to and from Jamaica was suspended as a result of of the Covid pandemic.

The Home Office prolonged his keep to 31 July 2020 as a result of of the extenuating circumstances, and he was suggested of his proper to use for depart to stay within the UK from inside this nation – known as “in house” – once more as a result of of the pandemic. His application was lodged on 28 July 2020.

Home secretary Priti Patel

(PA)

The couple’s MP, Wes Streeting, has requested the Home Office to halt the deportation.

Most of the Jamaican folks going through deportation stay with a incapacity or well being downside, and got here to Britain as youngsters, in keeping with evaluation shared with The Independent.

The authorities has beforehand insisted that deportation flights have been designed to take away “dangerous foreign criminals” from the UK, nonetheless Mr Matthews – a earlier candidate for Jamaica’s Constabulary Force – doesn’t meet these standards and is a law-abiding citizen.

A Home Office spokesperson stated: “Those with no right to be in the UK, including foreign national offenders, should be in no doubt that we will do whatever is necessary to remove them. This is what the public rightly expects, and why we regularly operate flights to different countries.

“The New Plan for Immigration will fix the broken immigration system and stop the abuse we are seeing by expediting the removal of those who have no right to be here.”

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