Unlawful Detention – Foreign National – Entitled to Damages for Period of Unlawful Detention – Finding of contempt made against SSHD
Mr Lamari was served with a deportation order to Algeria on 15 December 2012 and had been in immigration detention since 21 December 2010 when his 12 month custodial sentence for robbery came to an end. His history of mental illness and the effect of continuing detention upon him was a very important feature in this case. Following the Secretary of State’s refusal to release Mr Lamari, a Judicial Review on his potential unlawful detention was lodged at the Administrative Court. At a rolled-up hearing on 25 May 2012, HHJ Cotter QC indicated that he was going to order Mr Lamari’s release by 8 June 2012 and an undertaking was given by the Secretary of State to avoid such an order. HHJ Cotter QC reserved judgment for the judicial review application unlawful detention matter which was handed down on 18 June 2012. It was held that Mr Lamari had been unlawfully detained since 23 May 2012 and is entitled to damages for his period of unlawful detention. The issue of damages for Mr Lamari’s unlawful detention will be transferred to the Queen’s Bench Division for consideration.
At a hearing on Mr Lamari’s Judicial Review claim, an undertaking was given by the Secretary of State for Mr Lamari’s release by 8 June 2012. This undertaking was incorporated in an Order dated 6 July 2012. Mr Lamari was not released as per the Order and on 12 June 2012 the Secretary of State made an application to the Court to release her from the undertaking provided on the basis that the undertaking was given without proper authority. Mr Lamari was eventually released from detention at 9:00pm on 14 June 2012 and an application for committal of the Secretary of State was filed on 15 June 2012. On 18 June 2012, upon hearing from Counsel for Mr Lamari and for the Secretary of State, HHJ Cotter QC made a finding of contempt against the Secretary of State due to the breach of her undertaking to release Mr Lamari between 11th and 13th June 2012. In his judgment, HHJ Cotter QC found that there has been most regrettable and unacceptable behaviour on the 11th June 2012 and that there has been an intentional refusal to comply with the undertaking given and the order.