A man from Antigua and Barbuda, whose deportation for overstaying his time in this country was delayed for over five months as he is awaiting trial for a series of fraud and larceny charges, has been awarded over $800,000 in compensation.
In March 2019, former High Court Judge and current Appeal Court Judge Vasheist Kokaram upheld Troy Thomas’ lawsuit over his protracted detention pending deportation and ordered his immediate release.
Late last week, High Court Judge Avason Quinlan-Williams delivered a judgement in which she assessed the compensation owed to Thomas for his detention before being freed by Kokaram.
According to the evidence in the case, Thomas was first detained by immigration officials and issued a deportation order on March 2, 2007.
With his appeal against the decision pending, Thomas spent almost 40 days in detention before he was released on a series of supervision orders, under which he was required to periodically check in with the Immigration Division.
While on the supervision orders, Thomas allegedly committed the fraud and larceny offences and was released on bail pending the trials.
In October 2018, he was again detained by Immigration officials, who sought to immediately enforce the previously stayed deportation order based on his repeated non-compliance with the orders of supervision.
However, they opted to not push through the deportation until receiving advice from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
In his judgement, Kokaram had ruled that immigration officials did not have the power to delay Thomas’ deportation because of his pending criminal cases.
Kokaram also agreed with Thomas’ attorney Gerald Ramdeen’s submission that Thomas could have been deported within a reasonable time of his arrest.
While Kokaram ruled that the division was justified in considering the charges and the fact that Thomas had breached previous supervision orders, he said it had very little choice but to grant him another conditional release if it did not plan to deport him within a reasonable time.
As part of the case before Kokaram, Thomas was awarded over $200,000 in damages for the little over a month he spent in custody in 2007.
Thomas was eventually rearrested by immigration officials and deported within a reasonable time but still pursued a separate lawsuit before Justice Quinlan-Williams for compensation for his second period of detention.
In his submissions in the case before Justice Quinlan-Williams, Ramdeen noted that Thomas’ previous deportation was also affected by the division’s inability to purchase an airline ticket for Thomas.
Thomas was also represented by Umesh Maharaj and Dayadai Harripaul.