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Royal Court quashes decision in Bangladeshi asylum-seeker case

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THE Home Affairs Minister will have to reconsider a decision to deny a Bangladeshi asylum seeker the right to remain in the Island after the Royal Court quashed his original ruling.

The Bailiff, Tim Le Cocq

In its ruling on the case of a person referred to as A, who was arrested two years ago after entering Jersey illegally, the court found a procedural failing in the way Constable Len Norman made a decision not to grant asylum.

The Bangladeshi national is attempting to claim asylum on the grounds that he would face violence or persecution if he was to return to his native country, for opposing the ruling political party.

He left Bangladesh in 2012 on a student visa for the UK but feared returning, so he remained in the British Isles – ultimately being arrested in Jersey in August 2017.

His application for asylum was rejected in August 2018, with the minister stating there were inconsistencies in the applicant’s evidence and certain parts of the applicant’s case had not been accepted.

Earlier this year, the then Deputy Bailiff, Tim Le Cocq, gave leave for the man to apply for a judicial review, and the Royal Court quashed the original decision to deny asylum.

Advocate Richard Holden, representing A, raised several concerns about the way the minister came to his decision. He said Mr Norman rejected the claim days before he submitted reasons for doing so.

He also argued that input from the Customs and Immigration Service blurred the boundary between being an advisor to the minister and provider of information.

Advocate Holden also argued that the reasons given by the minister were inadequate and/or unintelligible.

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In response, Advocate Steven Meiklejohn, representing the Home Affairs Minister, stated that there was no evidence to suggest Mr Norman was not clear when making his decision what his reasons were.

In conclusion, the Royal Court, with Bailiff Tim Le Cocq presiding, said that despite the minister’s decision letter explaining some findings, it did not adequately set out the full findings.

The court said: ‘Given the importance of this decision, we do not think the reasons are adequate and the applicant would not be left sufficiently clear as to the full basis of the rejection by the minister of his asylum application.

‘Accordingly, we quash the decision and remit it to the minister (or the Assistant Minister) for re-consideration. We do not suggest in any way that the decision was wrong or that the same decision, with sufficient reasons, may not be made again. That is to be considered afresh.’

Earlier this year a Syrian, who landed at Anne Port in a dinghy, was removed from the Island. It was argued the man, who claimed he was tortured and threatened by IS due to his religious beliefs, would be at risk if he returned to the European state he had initially been granted asylum in. He was denied asylum and his legal team decided against appealing against the decision, and he was subsequently removed from the Island.

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