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Immigration Solicitors granted permission to Judicial Review Home Office policy in the light of soldier being refused Citizenship for a speeding offence. (20 January 2014)

Date: 20/01/2014
Duncan Lewis, Main Solicitors, Immigration Solicitors granted permission to Judicial Review Home Office policy in the light of soldier being refused Citizenship for a speeding offence.

Immigration solicitors, Duncan Lewis, have been granted permission to Judicial Review the Home Office’s policy which led to Botswana “Sapper” in the British Army being refused citizenship over speeding offence despite “exemplary record” in the army.

Duncan Lewis Immigration Solicitors have been granted permission for Judicial Review of the home office policy that meant that Poloko Hiri, a Sapper in the British army, would not be entitled to citizenship for a speeding offence which “showed signs” of “bad character”.

Botswana national Hiri had his application for UK Citizenship rejected by the UK Border Agency in 2012 due to a single speeding offence.

Hiri had received a “£100 fine and five penalty points” for driving “81mph in a 50mph roadworks zone on the M1 at 1.30AM”. It wasn’t considered a dangerous driving offence, but it led to his application for British Citizenship to be rejected by the UKBA on the account that the single offence demonstrated “bad character”.

Hiri, who has a young daughter in the UK, enlisted as a Commonwealth serviceman in the Royal Engineers in August 2008. He had dreams of becoming a soldier, but was too old to join the Botswana Defence Force.

He said, in an interview with the Daily Mail;

“Iraq and Afghanistan were still going on. I knew that I might have to put my life on the line and go to a warzone. I was prepared for that.”

Hiri became a design draughtsman, drawing up plans for bases, roads and other construction projects and joined 73 Armoured Engineer Squadron, 21 Engineer Regiment and completed exercises in the UK and Canada.

In August 2011, he gave 12 months notice that he wanted to leave the army to take a degree in archaeological technology at London South Bank University. This was a move which was “fully supported” by commanders.

Duncan Lewis Solicitors, who were recommended in the Legal 500 2013 guide, have had their application to Judicially Review the Home Office policy along with Mr Hiri’s individual decision granted and is set to be heard in February 2014.

Duncan Lewis solicitors dealt with a number of widely publicised immigration cases in 2013; such as the case of Isa Muaza, who went on hunger-strike protest against his deportation and Fiji veteran Filimone Lacanivalu, who served in the British army for nine years.

https://www.duncanlewis.co.uk/publiclaw_ourteam/Toufique_Hossain.htmlToufique Hossain, the director of Duncan Lewis’ Immigration and Public Law Department said of Mr Hiri’s case;

"The Home Office Policy regarding Naturalisation is most certainly applied too rigidly across the board. Mr. Hiri is precisely the type of individual that the policy is not intended to catch. He is not only a man who takes great pride in his nation's allegiance with the Commonwealth, but he is a man who was willing to give his life for this country as a result of serving in the British Army.

To continue to deprive him of citizenship for nothing more than a speeding offence, which was not classed as dangerous driving, is an outrageous decision especially in light of our client’s exemplary record when serving in the UK’s Armed Forces"

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