Somali criminal handed £78,000 compensation for attempt to deport him
Robber with 13 jail terms successfully claimed he had been falsely detained by Home Office officials
A SOMALI career criminal who racked up 13 custodial sentences in 15 years has won £78,500 in damages after the Home Office tried to deport him.
Abdulrahman Mohammed, 39, came to the UK in February 1996 when he was 17 and has spent much of the last two decades in and out of custody, largely for serious criminal offences.
He was detained pending deportation as a foreign criminal, and claimed damages for false imprisonment relating to three periods of detention totalling 445 days.
Assessing damages in London after the Home Office admitted liability, Edward Pepperall, the Deputy High Court Judge, said that as a 13-year-old, Mohammed suffered “unimaginable barbarity” in Mogadishu at the outbreak of the civil war.
He was tortured by armed men and had since suffered moderately severe post-traumatic stress disorder.
On arriving in the UK, he soon found himself mixing in bad company and became a “habitual and violent criminal”.
Between Feb 1998 and Dec 2013, he was convicted of 31 offences and was handed custodial sentences 13 times.
Most notably he was sentenced to two different four-year terms for robbery.
After the decision was taken to deport him in 2008, Mohammed applied to the European Court of Human Rights, citing the deteriorating situation in Somalia, and it directed that he should not be removed from the UK until further notice.
He said the ensuing periods of detention made him feel trapped, humiliated and hopeless.
Yesterday, the judge said some might well question why a foreign citizen who had so thoroughly abused the hospitality of this country by the committing of serious criminal offences was entitled to any compensation. He continued: “First, there are few principles more important in a civilised society than that no one should be deprived of their liberty without lawful authority.
“Second, it is essential that where a person is unlawfully imprisoned ... that an independent judiciary should hold the executive to account.
“Third, justice should be done to all people.”
Mohammed, said the judge, was a “prolific and violent offender”, adding: “I can well understand why the Home Secretary might wish to deport him. She has not, however, been able to do so, largely because of the very real risk that deportation would pose.”
He said Mohammed’s presence in the UK was “not conducive to the public good” but added: “Nevertheless, in a civilised society, he is entitled to justice. Specifically, he is entitled not to be falsely imprisoned and, given the Home Office’s admission he has been unlawfully detained, he is now entitled to the compensation I have awarded.”
Abdulrahman Mohammed was ‘a violent and prolific offender’, but still entitled to justice, a judge at the High Court ruled