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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Home Office falsely imprisoned sex offender

Home Office falsely imprisoned sex offender

Shepard Kambadzi was detained under immigration law powers day before he was due to be released

Hundreds of foreign national prisoners like Mohamoud are being detained indefinitely when they can't be deported. The supreme court ruling gives hope to long-term detainees


The Home Office falsely imprisoned a convicted sex offender in immigration detention for two years because of a failure to carry out regular reviews, a court has ruled.

The supreme court verdict is the end of a three-year legal battle for Shepard Kambadzi, a failed asylum seeker from Zimbabwe who was detained while the Home Office tried to remove him from the UK.

Kambadzi arrived in the UK in 2002 on a visitor's visa that ran out in 2004. In December 2005 he was convicted of assault and sexual assault and sentenced to 12 months in prison.

The day before he was due to be released he was detained under immigration act powers.

Two years later in April 2008, with Kambadzi still in detention, his lawyers took the case to the high court, arguing that holding him was unlawful because it was not reviewed on the required monthly basis. No review was carried out at all in the first 10 months of his detention.

He was released in June 2008 but has still not been removed to Zimbabwe because of conditions there.

At an earlier stage of the case, high court judge Justice Munby described as "casual mendacity" a Home Office practice in which the writing of monthly progress reports "seemed to have predated the actual decision".

Foreign national prisoners first became a pressing issue for the Home Office in 2006. Charles Clarke was forced to resign as home secretary when it was discovered that around 1,000 foreign national prisoners had been released without being considered for removal.

Clarke's successor, John Reid, introduced a tougher policy that all foreign nationals would be detained at the end of a criminal sentence.

Lawyers say the policy has led to hundreds of people being held despite there being no way to remove them quickly from the country.

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