Jamaica deportation flights goes ahead without 25 detainees following last-minute Court of Appeal ruling

The Home Office has deported of a group of criminals to Jamaica following a last-minute legal challenge.

However half of the original number planned for deportation remained in the UK after a judicial review.

A Court of Appeal judge ordered the government not to deport many of the 50 detainees due to board the plane amid concerns over their access to legal advice.

Seventeen people were deported on Tuesday morning, according to the Home Office, and 25 who were due to leave are still in the UK after the judge intervened.

Downing Street said it “bitterly” regretted the Court of Appeal decision and plans to appeal.

On Tuesday the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “There are 25 foreign national offenders who the court ruled could not be removed and are therefore still in the country.

“The offences which these people were responsible for include one manslaughter, one firearms offence, seven violent offences, two which are in the category of rape or sexual offences and 14 drugs offences.”

The 17 deported had amassed “sentences of 75 years” between them for offences including rape, possession of firearms, violent offences including actual bodily and grievous bodily harm and the supply of Class A drugs, Downing Street said.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 10: Protestors block Whitehall on February 10, 2020 in London, England. Protestors attend a demonstration called by the Movement For Justice outside Downing Street against the deportations to Jamaica by charter flights. (Photo by Guy Smallman/Getty Images)
Protesters demonstrated against the deportations to Jamaica outside Downing Street on Monday evening (Getty)

The PM’s official spokesman added: “The legal process for removing these offenders, which has included repeated appeals and judicial reviews, has already cost the British public tens of thousands of pounds.”

Dominic Cummings, one of the Prime Minister’s closest aides, said there must be “urgent action on the farce that judicial review has become” following the Court of Appeal decision, ITV News reported.

Dominic Cummings, political advisor to Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, arrives at Downing Street in London, Friday, Dec. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Dominic Cummings, political advisor to Boris Johnson, criticised the Court of Appeal decision . (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

The Tories also seized on Labour’s criticism of the flight and claimed it showed they have not learned the lesson of the 2019 electoral drubbing.

The decision followed calls to halt the flight until after the publication of a report into the Windrush scandal, which led to many people who had arrived in the UK from the Caribbean before 1973 being wrongfully detained, threatened with deportation, and in some cases, wrongly deported.

Protesters obstruct Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith in a minsterial car as he leaves the Houses of Parliament in London, as their protest against government plans to deport 50 people to Jamaica continues.
Protesters obstruct Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith in a minsterial car as he leaves the Houses of Parliament in London, as their protest against government plans to deport 50 people to Jamaica continues.

Campaigners have criticised the deportation flight, arguing that some of the foreign nationals being kicked out of the country had come to the UK as children, had no links with Jamaica and had been convicted of one-time drug offences when they were young.

A Home Office spokesman said: "We make no apology for trying to protect the public from serious, violent and persistent foreign national offenders.

"The court ruling does not apply to all of the foreign national offenders due to be deported and we are therefore proceeding with the flight."

Sajid Javid defended the government's decision to go ahead with the deportation flight on Tuesday.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live: "We will always do what we can to protect the public. These are all foreign national offenders – they have all received custodial sentences of 12 months or more. They are responsible for crimes like manslaughter, rape, dealing in class A drugs.”

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On Monday night, a Court of Appeal judge ordered the Home Office not to carry out the scheduled deportation amid concerns mobile phone outages had prevented detainees from having access to legal advice.

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