Woman’s deportation costs taxpayers £21K

MORE than £20,000 of taxpayers’ money was spent on chartering a private plane to deport a German woman who had been convicted in the Magistrate’s Court of leaving human excrement in various public places.

Picture: DAVID FERGUSON (30692629)
Picture: DAVID FERGUSON (30692629)

Sonja Selwig was found guilty of malicious damage, obtaining goods or services by deception and six public nuisance offences following a trial in January. She was jailed for nine months and recommended for deportation. A removal order was then signed off by Home Affairs Minister Len Norman.

While most deportations see prisoners escorted onto commercial flights, on this occasion the decision was made, owing to safety and security concerns, to charter a private aircraft. The cost of the deportation flight was £21,350.

A spokesperson for the Home Affairs Department said: ‘On 30 March, the Jersey Customs and Immigration Service, in collaboration with States of Jersey Prison Service, facilitated the deportation of a prisoner from Jersey to Germany, following a deportation order signed by the Home Affairs Minister.

‘In all deportation cases, a thorough risk assessment is carried out and, due to safety and security requirements, coupled with the individual’s physical and health needs, it was not viable to carry out the deportation via commercial transport, and a private medical charter aircraft was required to fly a direct route from Jersey to Germany. The cost of the operation was covered within the JCIS budget.

‘This approach has been used before in deportations from the Island and is likely to be used again where the risk assessment dictates, and in accordance with the number of qualified staff required to accompany the prisoner on the journey.’

The first private-plane deportation took place in 2013 after an Italian man threatened to attack Customs officers and ‘target young passengers if he was put on a commercial flight’. Ahead of his planned departure date, he began working out in the prison gym to ‘bulk up’.

Owing to the risk, Customs officers said they were left with no choice but to spend £11,400 chartering a private jet to take him from Jersey to Turin in north-western Italy.

The prisoner followed through on his threats, headbutting an officer while being picked up from prison. He spent the rest of the journey with his arms and legs cuffed.

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