The Immigration Division has lost its appeal against a judge’s decision to refuse to strike out a lawsuit of a Guyanese man, who is challenging his proposed deportation.
On Monday, Appellate judges Allan Mendonca and Peter Rajkumar dismissed the appeal in which the division and the Office of the Attorney General were seeking to overturn the judge’s decision to allow Oliver Headley’s constitution claim to continue.
According to the evidence in the case, when Headley first arrived in Trinidad in 2008, he claimed that he came for a vacation and was permitted entry for a certain period.
Headley did not leave as promised but was only arrested for overstaying his time in 2012.
Headley participated in a special inquiry done by the division and pleaded guilty to the offence.
A deportation order was issued against him but he was released and placed on a supervision order.
Although under the supervision order, Headley was ordered to purchase a ticket to return to Guyana. He failed to do so and was rearrested.
Headley was subsequently granted bail.
In the lawsuit, Headley claimed constitutional rights were breached as Immigration officers failed to inform him of his rights to an attorney and to appeal during the special inquiry.
Through the lawsuit, Headley claimed a series of declarations against the division, financial compensation for the four months he spent detained until he was granted bail, and an order blocking his deportation in the future.
While the case was at a preliminary stage, the division and the AG’s Office applied to strike out the claim as they claimed that Headley should have brought false imprisonment and malicious prosecution claims as opposed to a constitutional motion.
In her preliminary decision, High Court judge Joan Charles rejected the application as she noted that he had raised a valid challenge that required judicial analysis.
“This case is also about the exercising of executive power by the Immigration Department and whether this power has been exercised fairly, reasonably, legally and in accordance with the Constitutional rights of the claimant,” Charles said in her judgment.
Based on the decision on the appeal, the case will now have to be continued before Charles.
Headley was represented by Farai Hove-Masaisai, Issa Jones, and Antonya Pierre, while Sasha Sukhram and Vincent Jardine represented the State.