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Duncan Lewis launches challenge to Home Secretary’s failure to instigate public inquiry into G4S abuse of detainees at Brook House IRC (29 January 2018)

Date: 29/01/2018
Duncan Lewis, Main Solicitors, Duncan Lewis launches challenge to Home Secretary’s failure to instigate public inquiry into G4S abuse of detainees at Brook House IRC

This month Duncan Lewis Solicitors have launched a High Court challenge, on behalf of our client, into the Home Secretary’s failure to instigate a public inquiry into serious and systemic abuse of detainees by G4S staff at Brook House Immigration Removal Centre.

The challenge has been initiated following the airing of a BBC Panorama documentary; “Undercover: Britain’s Immigration Secrets” in September 2017, which followed a 21-year old, whistle-blowing detention officer who secretly filmed serious physical, verbal and racial abuse of detainees.

The most serious incident involved our client, known in the documentary under the pseudonym, “Abbas”, a young Egyptian asylum seeker with serious mental health problems whose period of detention involved multiple suicide attempts and self-harm.

The undercover filming showed disturbing footage of a senior detention officer choking our client, and whispering into his ear, “Don’t f#####g move, you f#####g piece of s##t. I’m going to put you to f#####g sleep.” The officer in question was supposed to be coming to our client’s aid following a further self-harm attempt.

Duncan Lewis wrote to the Home Secretary following the documentary, calling for her to immediately commence a public inquiry into our client’s treatment and the wider systemic failings in Brook House that the documentary so damningly revealed. She responded in November claiming that the current civil and criminal mechanisms in place would be sufficient to discharge her investigate duties under Article 3 ECHR.

It is hoped the current High Court proceedings will ensure the Home Secretary is made to change her position and that it will lead to an inquiry that could help ensure that such abuse is prevented in future in UK detention centres.

The Claimant is represented by Lewis Kett and Nicholas Hughes of the Public Law department at Duncan Lewis, who have instructed Stephanie Harrison QC of Garden Court Chambers and Alex Goodman of Landmark Chambers.

Duncan Lewis Public Law Solicitors

The Duncan Lewis Public Law Department has been recommended by Legal 500 2017, with particular praise for their work successfully challenging policies under which vulnerable individuals are detained in immigration detention centres. By way of judicial review, the Public Law Department challenges decisions made by public bodies which would otherwise be non-appealable. These can be central or local government, or other organisations carrying out public functions.

The Public Law team have experience in all aspects of judicial review claimant work, including obtaining emergency orders and other interim relief to prevent breaches of human rights, following up judicial reviews with actions for damages in both the County and High Court and successfully pursuing judicial review matters to the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.

Our Public Law solicitors conduct all stages of such matters from initial pre-action correspondence to filing, conducting and settling claims and costs negotiations and litigation. Duncan Lewis solicitors carry out both publicly and privately funded work.

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