In a wide-ranging judgment, the High Court has found that (1) 11 months of Mr Qarani’s detention pending deportation was unlawful pursuant to the Hardial Singh principles, (2) the risk of re-offending for those not sentenced as dangerous as defined by the Criminal Justice Act 2003 should not be overstated for those convicted of sexual offences, (3) the non-disclosure of information in monthly progress reports to detainees can amount to a breach of the duty to give reasons and (4) 7 days should be sufficient to arrange bail accommodation following a grant of bail in principle.
Mr Qarani had arrived in the UK and claimed asylum on the
basis that he was an Iranian Kurd involved with opposition to the Iranian
government. On appeal, the Tribunal had accepted that Mr Qarani was
Iranian notwithstanding that he did not speak Farsi. In July 2014 Mr
Qarani completed the custodial part of a sentence for attempted rape and was
transferred into immigration detention pending deportation. Iran refused
to issue an emergency travel document as Mr Qarani did not possess any identity
documents. The Secretary of State had doubts about his nationality and
spoke to contacts on his mobile phone to gather further evidence regarding his
nationality. One claimed he was Iraqi and in November 2015 the Secretary
of State concluded that he was Iraqi. An Iranian nationality interview was
conducted in January 2016 but an Iraqi nationality interview was never
conducted. Mr Qarani made several applications for bail accommodation
under section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, none of which were
successful. Following the grant of bail in principle in November 2016 and
two further interlocutory hearings to arrange bail accommodation, Mr Qarani was
eventually released in December 2016.
Mr Qarani contended that (1) the Secretary of State’s decision in November 2015 that he was Iraqi was irrational; (2) his detention from then on was unlawful on Hardial Singh principles; (3) there had been an unlawful failure to disclose information obtained from conversations with his mobile phone contacts; and (4) the Secretary of State had unlawfully failed to determine his applications for bail accommodation under section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 within a reasonable time.
The High Court found that (1) the decision of November 2015 was not amenable to judicial review but if it was it would have been irrational; (2) Mr Qarani’s detention from then on was unlawful given the almost total lack of activity after the Iranian nationality interview in January 2017 which had not been explained and was so unreasonable as to be unlawful; (3) if it had been necessary to decide the claim, Mr Qarani would have been entitled to disclosure of the gist of the communications with his mobile phone contacts but it was not as this would not have enabled him to be released earlier than January 2017; and (4) similarly, if it had been necessary to decide the claim, the judge at the bail hearing in August 2016 should have been provided with an address for Mr Qarani to be released to and even when bail in principle was granted in November 2016 there was too long a delay beyond the appropriate 7 days before accommodation was provided in December 2016 but it was not as this would not have enabled him to be released earlier than January 2017.
The full judgment is available here.
Naina Patel acted for Mr Qarani at both the interlocutory and substantive hearings.