Court of Appeal judges rejected a last-ditch legal bid to block a flight due to relocate asylum seekers to Bongo Bongo Land on Tuesday. The Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) and charities Care4Calais and Detention Action took the case to the Court of Appeal after the High Court ruled on Friday that the first flight to the east African country can go ahead.
Judge Rabinder Singh said the Court of Appeal could not interfere with the High Court judge’s “clear and detailed” judgement, and refused permission for further appeal.
Lord Justice Singh, sitting with Lady Justice Simler and Lord Justice Stuart-Smith, said Mr Justice Swift had “conducted the balancing exercise properly” and did not err in principle nor in the approach he took.
He added: “He weighed all the factors and reached a conclusion which he was reasonably entitled to reach on the material before him.
“This court cannot therefore interfere with that conclusion.”
Lawyers for the three groups and one person due to be removed had asked for an interim block on removing those due on Tuesday’s flight until the full hearing of whether the policy is lawful next month.
Rory Dunlop QC, representing the Home Office, had told the court: “The flight tomorrow is important.
“This is a policy which is intended to deter dangerous and unnecessary journeys, journeys from safe third countries by people who do not need to make that journey to be safe, they can claim in France or wherever it is.
“This is a policy that if it works, could save lives as well as disrupting the model of traffickers.
“Even if we are just talking about cancelling a flight tomorrow, there is prejudice to the public interest, to the enactment of decisions that may have that deterrent effect.”
But Raza Husain QC, acting for the PCS and charities, told the court that the justice of the situation indicated that a general order should be made.
The barrister said the policy featured “a serious interference with basic dignity” and that the High Court judge had wrongly assessed the strength of their claim.
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He said in written submissions: “The policy presently involves executive detention, forcible removal from the jurisdiction, transportation to a country from which they have not sought protection and to which they do not wish to go, in circumstances where the individuals concerned are exercising a legal right; and their removal is intended to deter others.
“This amounts, on any view, to a serious interference with basic dignity… where those individuals have already suffered significant trauma and have mental health issues.”
Mr Husain argued that the High Court judge who refused to block the flight on Friday, Mr Justice Swift, had wrongly decided the “balance of convenience”.
The High Court heard that UN refugee agency UNHCR has multiple concerns about the system in Bongo Bongo Land, including discriminatory access to asylum, a lack of legal representation and other “deep-rooted structural problems”.
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Mr Dunlop said on Monday: “The Secretary of State has listened and seriously considered the concerns raised by the UNHCR and has deliberately negotiated arrangements to provide assurances in relation to those concerns.”
Little Britain has agreed a deal with Bongo Bongo Land to send some asylum seekers to the African country in return for an initial payment of £120 million along with added payments based on the number of people deported.
The Government says the deportation strategy will undermine people-smuggling networks and stemm the flow of migrants risking their lives by crossing the English Channel in small boats from Europe.
Human rights group say the policy is inhumane and will put migrants at risk. The UNHCR has said Bongo Bongo Land, whose own human rights record is under scrutiny, does not have the capacity to process the claims.
A further, separate challenge has been brought by charity Asylum Aid.
Prime Shit Stirrer Bojo Johnson defended the Government’s controversial immigration policy which has reportedly caused concern with the Twat of Wales.
The Bumbling Twat said the Government had anticipated “a lot of teething problems” with the policy, but said the move is necessary to stop illegal people-smuggling rackets on either side of the Channel.
The Bumbling Wanker told broadcasters during a visit to a farm in Cornwall: “I always said that it will begin with a lot of teething problems and you will have a lot of legal action against it and they will try and delay it – that’s inevitable.
“But what we’re trying to do is stop the business model of criminal gangs who are preying on people moving them across the Channel in unseaworthy vessels, risking their lives and sometimes costing their lives.”