NI: HHD Solicitors secure release of EU national unlawfully detained

Charlene Dempsey
Charlene Dempsey

HHD Solicitors secured the release of an EU national who was unlawfully detained at Belfast Ferry Port and transferred to Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre in Scotland.

Mr Blindu, a Romanian national, was detained on 8 December 2015 by immigration officials who alleged he had entered the UK unlawfully following his apparent deportation on grounds of public policy, a decision taken at Heathrow Airport and allegedly notified to him by written notice on 19 July 2015.

HHD Solicitors sent written representations to the Home Office on Mr Blindu’s behalf but received no reply. On the 17th, emergency judicial review proceedings were lodged at the High Court in Belfast.

Shortly before the hearing commenced, the Home Office released Mr Blindu on temporary admission to the UK.

In the course of proceedings, the Home Office relied on a notice dated 19 July 2015 to show that the client had been deported from the UK on public policy grounds owing to a number of past convictions. However, the notice was not signed as having been served upon Mr Blindu.

Mr Blindu maintained that he had not received the notice and therefore was unaware of his deportation and any subsequent appeal rights.

The court found failure to serve such a notice is contrary to regulation 4 of the Immigration (Notices) Regulations 2003 and Article 30 of the Council Directive 2000/30/EC, and therefore in breach of EU law.

The High Court therefore ruled that Mr Blindu’s detention between 8-22 December 2015 was unlawful and further that the decision to remove him from the UK in July 2015 should be quashed.

Solicitor Charlene Dempsey, who represented Mr Blindu, said: “This was an extremely stressful case given the client was detained up until the 22nd December 2015.

“There was a real possibility that this man would have been detained, as it turned out unlawfully, over the Christmas period. Out team had to work extremely quickly to draft proceedings and have them lodged.

“Thankfully we managed to secure his release just before Christmas enabling him to return to his family.”

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