Boris Johnson was furious last night, as it emerged that a domestic judicial review suspended the removal of 25 serious foreign criminals at the very last moment after they complained about not having been granted legal support, The Times reported citing sources.
“Obviously we don’t want to do anything that’s in contravention of the law, but on the other hand I think these individuals should have taken the precaution of not being serious criminals", Johnson noted when asked why the deportations had gone ahead despite the ongoing legal battle.
According to Johnson’s senior adviser and strategist Dominic Cummings, the Court of Appeal decision was “a perfect symbol of the British state’s dysfunction” and that there would be “urgent action on the farce that judicial review has become”.
Around 50 people had been expected to be on a chartered flight bound for Kingston early in the morning on Tuesday, but it took off with merely 17 on board after the rest, as ruled by judges, were placed in temporary immigration removal centres.
Among those remaining in Britain are a killer, a firearms offender, two sexual abusers, seven violent criminals, and 14 drug offenders. Among them was Randee Hall, 21, who was convicted in 2018 of possessing Class A drugs with intent to supply and sentenced to four years.
The government has reportedly voiced concerns that the remaining offenders will win bail some time in the foreseeable future and be released ahead of schedule.
A Whitehall spokesman argued, as cited by The Times, that the government made “no apology for trying to protect the public from serious, violent and persistent foreign national offenders” as well as hit out at the judicial system for leaving the taxpayer with “an even bigger bill”. To ground the view, he brought up numbers noting that the legal process for removing the offenders had included appeals and judicial reviews and had cost the public tens of thousands of pounds.
Maria Thomas, a solicitor at Duncan Lewis who is working for 14 of the Jamaicans who were not deported, argued that there needs to be an in-depth analysis of every single case and not to make hasty decisions.
“We are not saying that there weren’t people with serious criminal convictions that were set to be on that flight. But there needs to be a proper review of their cases, especially in light of the Windrush circumstances".
The Windrush spat goes back to when Caribbean immigrants flooded the UK after World War Two to rebuild it and then were branded as illegal despite being raised in the UK.
According to the Home Office, around 7,300 foreign criminals are currently living in Britain.
The Tories promised in their manifesto to ensure that judicial review is not “abused to conduct politics by another means or create needless delays", with the issue having been put forward for legislation.
In the wake of the latest south London high street stabbing, which closely followed the London Bridge attack, Prime Minister Boris Johnson asserted that the early release of terrorists “who obviously continue to pose a threat to the public has come to the end of its useful life”. The government has since promised new legislation that would halt the practice of early release.
Meanwhile, it has been revealed that a whole wave of convicted terrorists is due to be let go on parole, in line with current UK legislation, The Telegraph reported.
The ones reportedly set for imminent release include Jamshed Javeed, a science teacher jailed for six years for attempting to join Daesh in Syria, and Moinul Abedin, branded as Britain’s first al Qaeda-inspired terrorist after being convicted of making detonators at his Birmingham home.