AN African refugee jailed twice for sex attacks has won a £110,000 payout for being caged too long after his own country refused to take him back.
Aliou Bah, 28, was imprisoned twice for serious assaults – including one on a 16-year-old girl – and put on the sex offenders’ register.
But he spent an extra 21 months in prison because immigration officials in Guinea in West Africa refused to process his travel papers.
The block scuppered a bid to deport him by bungling Home Office officials who were unaware he had been granted permission to stay in Britain.
And Judge Nicholas Madge has now ruled that he must be paid a fortune in taxpayers’ cash to compensate him for the extra time spent behind bars.
Judge Madge admitted that many people would think Bah’s traumatised victims deserved the big payout instead.
But the judge said he was obliged to protect the principle that no one should be locked up without lawful authority in a civilised society.
Bah should never have been held in custody after his sentences expired because he had been granted refugee status, Central London County Court was told.
And, as the Guinea Embassy had refused to issue him with travel documents, there was never any prospect of deporting him anyway.
Bah, who arrived in the UK in 2007 to join his refugee father, was convicted of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl in February 2011.
He was jailed for 18 months and put on the sex offenders' register for 10 years but was jailed again, for two years, for another sexual assault in 2014.
The Home Secretary signed a deportation order against him in December 2011, without realising he was entitled to be treated as a refugee.
And he was held in prison unlawfully for 14 months between January 2012 and March 2013 “pending deportation” and again between October 2014 and June 2015.
Given his refugee status and the attitude of the Guinea Embassy, there was never any prospect of him being thrown out of the country, Judge Madge said.
The Guinea authorities have consistently refused to issue travel papers to anyone who does not want to return to the country voluntarily.
Bah, from Southampton, Hants had not volunteered and the judge said that no one had been successfully deported to the West African state since 2006.
Both periods of immigration detention were therefore ruled unlawful.
Judge Madge ruled Bah was entitled to justice, like anyone else, and it was the role of independent judges to hold the government to account.
He had served his punishments for his crimes and was only due compensation because of the Home Office's failure to apply its own policy.
The judge added that if the Home Officials had behaved in a competent manner, the need to award Bah damages would not have arisen.
A Home Office spokeswoman said:"People who have no right to live in this country should be in no doubt of our determination to remove them. We have removed more than 41,000 Foreign National Offenders since 2010.
“We are now considering the judgement but this case does not change the legality of Mr Bah’s status in the UK.”
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