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Delayed deportation of German former prisoner renders detention unlawful

Reuter’s (Hans) Application [2012] NIQB 6

The Northern Ireland High Court has ruled that the failure of the UK Borders Agency (UKBA) to deport a German national within a reasonable timeframe rendered the man’s detention unlawful.The man had completed a prison sentence in Northern Ireland on 20th June 2011 but was not deported to Germany until 25th June 2011.  In the interim period he was detained in the prison for a further night and then at a number of different immigration removal centres in Scotland and England.  The delay resulted from “an in-country escort administrative error” (the company contracted by the UKBA to escort the man went to the wrong prison) and his flight had to be rescheduled.

The court found that the extended detention period (usually it is a maximum of 72 hours) was due to the failure of the UKBA to act with “reasonable diligence” and “expedition”.  The UKBA had a duty to act with urgency to rectify the problem caused by the escort company and they did not do so.  As a result the man’s detention was found to be unlawful.

A separate hearing will take place as to how much damages the man will be awarded (if agreement cannot be reached by the parties in advance).  If this hearing proceeds the judge has ordered the UKBA to explain why the man was moved from the prison to the immigration removal centres in Scotland and England, why he needed to be detained in three different centres and how much the escort company’s “error” cost the UKBA in having to remake the deportation arrangements.

Click here to read the full judgment.

Deportation, ECHR Art. 5, Northern Ireland High Court, Right to Liberty