Child sex attacker gets £105k unlawful detention damages
A Somali refugee who was convicted of sexually assaulting a child has been awarded £105,000 damages after a judge ruled he was unlawfully detained as an immigrant for just over 20 months.
The 41-year-old man, who arrived in the UK in 1997 and is only identified as AXD, is still serving a 21-month sentence for the crime imposed in February 2015, six months before he was granted refugee status.
AXD, who is believed to suffer from paranoid schizophrenia, previously served a 16-month sentence for unlawful wounding after slashing his victim's face with a broken mirror.
Mr Justice Jay ruled against the Home Office at London's High Court in May and found in favour of AXD's claim he was unlawfully detained from April 1 2013 to December 5 2014 - prior to the sex assault for which he is imprisoned.
The judge noted that AXD was "not a particularly worthy, likeable or sympathetic individual" but said he was clearly "vulnerable" and mentally ill.
Another way of looking at this case, however, is to point out that the claimant is vulnerable, that he probably suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, and that only those obligated to an adherence to the rule of law would be likely to vindicate his rights.
This alternative viewpoint is based not on any subjective preferences but on the loyal discharge of the judicial function.
– MR JUSTICE JAY
While detained, AXD argued that if he was deported he would face persecution on account of his sexual orientation and his conversion from Islam to Christianity. Concerns were also raised about his mental health.
The judge said AXD had been detained far too long in circumstances where he was not obviously "playing the system" and his deportation to Somalia could best be described as speculative.
The risk to the public, and of absconding, was not so great that continued incarceration was the only real option.
In my judgment, the claimant's case cried out to be grabbed by the metaphorical scruff of the neck, and clear and firm decisions made.
It is simply not acceptable that the claimant was detained for so long, in such circumstances.
– MR JUSTICE JAY
AXD was awarded £80,000 compensation plus £25,000 to reflect the aggravating features of the case. There will also be interest of £3,528.