- Judge Margaret O'Keeffe reluctantly granted Yaqub Ahmed 'bail in principle'
- She took the decision as there is little chance he can be kicked out of the UK
- Ahmed is waiting for the finding of a legal challenge to block his deportation
A rapist whose deportation was halted when airline passengers staged a mutiny is set to be released back on to Britain's streets despite the 'real risk' he will commit further offences.
Judge Margaret O'Keeffe last week reluctantly granted Yaqub Ahmed 'bail in principle' because there is no prospect that he can be kicked out of the country soon.
Ahmed, who should have been deported to his native Somalia 18 months ago, is awaiting the result of a legal challenge against his removal.
The 30-year-old was jailed for nine years in 2008 for his part in the gang rape of a 16-year-old girl in London.
He was first told he was liable for deportation in 2010.
An attempt to remove him in October 2018 failed when passengers aboard a Turkish Airways jet about to fly him out of the UK revolted.
Unaware of his crime, they leapt to his defence and demanded security guards remove him from the aircraft at Heathrow after he began screaming.
He was released from a detention centre on bail last March but detained again the following month because he ripped off an electronic tag and tried to flee the country, heading for Spain.
Speaking at a bail hearing on Tuesday, Judge O'Keeffe warned: 'I am satisfied that there is a real risk that he would commit offences if released on bail.
'I am also satisfied that the applicant poses a risk of absconding. He failed to comply with bail conditions in the past and was caught attempting to leave the jurisdiction.'
However, she said the risks of him offending and absconding 'have to be balanced against the length of time that the applicant has been in detention'.
Government guidance for immigration judges states that 'imperative considerations of public safety may be necessary to justify detention in excess of six months'.
Judge O'Keeffe said while there is conflicting evidence about Ahmed's mental state, 'what is not in dispute is that the applicant has been in detention now since April 2019 which on any reckoning is a very significant period of time'.
She added: 'I have to take into account that there is currently no realistic prospect of his removal to Somalia and it cannot be said that his removal is imminent.
'There is simply no way to know when the position will change in relation to international air travel.'
Ahmed's victim, who is now 28, last night described his looming release as 'disgraceful', saying: 'I am so sick of it. I just want it to be over but it's never-ending. I think it's disgraceful.
'At the end of the day they have considered him as a risk already, multiple times, yet they are willing to put people at risk now.'
During last week's 37-minute hearing, Edward Terrell, a lawyer for the Home Office, said the case was 'uniquely appalling' and Ahmed had 'shown no hint of remorse' for his crime.
Miranda Butler, Ahmed's lawyer, told the tribunal his mental health 'worsened significantly as a result of his detention' and he had attempted suicide.
Judge O'Keeffe said Ahmed's bail was subject to the Home Office providing him with suitable accommodation, warning that if that did not happen within 14 days he would remain detained.
She also suggested the bail decision could be reversed if Ahmed loses a judicial review against his removal, the result of which is expected in days.
The Home Office last night declined to say whether it had found Ahmed accommodation and whether he had been released.