Black Lives Matter Event Series – Part 2: Gang Mythologies and Deportation

Wednesday 3 February 2021

Stephanie Harrison KC

Greg Ó Ceallaigh KC

Dr Alpa Parmar

Maria Brul

Joan Martin

The Garden Court Chambers Criminal Defence Team brings you a series of online events on 'Black Lives Matter – challenging racist stereotypes in the justice system'.

The Garden Court Chambers Immigration Team join for Part 2 to give their expertise.

Ranked as a Top Tier Set in the Legal 500, Garden Court Chambers is one of the leading criminal defence and immigration barristers' chambers in the UK. Garden Court Chambers is also the only set of barristers awarded the highest ‘Band 1’ status for immigration law by the independent Chambers Bar Guide rankings.

Date: Wednesday 3 February 2021
Time: 5pm - 6:30pm GMT / 12 - 1:30pm EST / 9 - 10:30am PST
Venue: Online  
Cost: Free
Areas of Law: Immigration Law , Criminal Defence , Youth Justice & Child Rights

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Our panel of speakers explored how the Home Office uses evidence in failed prosecutions, and so-called “intelligence” gathered through policing and monitoring of alleged gang activity, as a basis for deportation in what they call Operation Nexus. Our panel includes Greg Ó Ceallaigh of Garden Court Chambers, Dr Alpa Parmar, Associate Director of Border Criminologies at the University of Oxford, Maria Brul, Senior Advocacy Coordinator at Detention Action and Joan Martin, Family's for Justice Campaigner. The webinar was chaired by our Joint Head of Chambers Stephanie Harrison QC.




Stephanie Harrison QC, Joint Head of Garden Court Chambers (Chair)
Described as a "brilliant advocate", Stephanie Harrison QC is a leading public law practitioner who has appeared at all court levels. Her multi-disciplinary practice spans the breadth of public law, immigration and civil liberties. Stephanie's cases include those arising from unlawful detention, national security, official misconduct, abuse of power, child sexual exploitation, equality and discrimination, minority rights and civil rights protest and injunctions.

Stephanie is regularly involved in test case litigation and has been instrumental in winning some of the most important cases within her areas of specialism in recent times. Much of her work is high profile and receives media coverage. She is passionate about upholding and advancing the rights of vulnerable, minority groups and children. Stephanie was appointed as legal counsel to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in 2015 and is ranked for Administrative and Public Law, Civil Liberties and Human Rights and Immigration in both the Legal 500 and Chambers UK Bar Guide. Stephanie was shortlisted for 'Civil Liberties & Human Rights Silk of the Year' at Legal 500 UK Awards 2020 and for 'Human Rights and Public Law Silk of the Year' by Chambers Bar Awards 2019. She won the Liberty Human Rights Lawyer of the Year Award 2013 and the Chambers UK Bar Human Rights and Public Law Junior of the Year award 2012.

Greg Ó Ceallaigh, Barrister, Garden Court Chambers
Greg Ó Ceallaigh is a barrister specialising in human rights, asylum and immigration and public law. Described as "very, very effective" Greg is ranked in the Chambers UK Bar Guide 2021 and the Legal 500 2021 for immigration. Greg has over a decade of experience in immigration law and has acted in all kinds of matters ranging from the most complex asylum and human rights claims to Tier 1 Investor cases. The core of Greg's practice is public law challenges to decisions of the Home Office and other bodies dealing with the rights of migrants either in the Administrative Court or the Upper Tribunal. He is also an extremely experienced Tribunal advocate both at the First-tier and the Upper Tribunal and is regularly instructed in his own right in the Court of Appeal. He has much experience of urgent removal cases and is comfortable taking instructions at short notice.

Greg writes for Macdonald's Immigration Law and Practice and Butterworths Immigration Law Service. He is a regular contributor to Free Movement, and has been featured in national and international press as an expert on immigration issues and the refugee crisis, including the IndependentWall Street Journal, RTS and Al Jazeera. He is on the Lexisnexis Panel of experts.

Dr Alpa Parmar, Associate Director of Border Criminologies at the University of Oxford
Dr Alpa Parmar is Associate Director of Border Criminologies, University of Oxford, Academic member of the Sentencing Council and Visiting Senior Fellow at the London School of Economics, Mannheim Centre. Alpa’s research focuses on the intersection between criminal law, criminal justice and race. She has conducted research to understand racial disproportionality in the criminal justice system and more recently Alpa has been examining the changing nature of policing in response to global mobility and its racialised consequences. Alpa’s current research focuses on understanding the impact of Operation Nexus (a government policy to promote collaboration between ordinary policing and immigration designed to ensure the swifter removal of foreign national offenders) and the use of police intelligence in these cases. 

Maria Brul, Senior Advocacy Coordinator, Detention Action
Maria coordinates advocacy, casework programming and safeguarding at Detention Action. Maria previously served as a case worker and psychotherapist at NHS IAPT in London and as a Migration Support caseworker with the Red Cross in Sydney, Australia. Her thirteen year career in social care started in the Criminal Justice system, within court observations and undertaking case management. Later she left local government and council roles to further her knowledge in immigration social care and support both domestic and international NGO's. Maria has provided migration support in Colombia, Greece, England and Australia, working with NGO's defending the rights of those going through a migration system. She has an MA in Global Diplomacy and a practice degree in FDSc Psychodynamic and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy from the University of London (SOAS and Brikbeck).

Joan Martin, Family's For Justice Campaign
Joan Martin, the mother of 22-year-old Osime Brown, is campaigning to stop her autistic son from being deported to Jamaica. She is continuing her fight to halt his deportation following a successful campaign to allow him to come home to Dudley instead of being transferred to an immigration removal centre on his release from prison in October 2020. Osime was jailed in 2018 over the theft of a phone in a street robbery, despite a witness for the defence stating Osime had not taken the phone and had in fact asked the other teens carrying out the robbery to stop. He got 5 year's in prison under the Joint Enterprise Law, it was also ordered that upon his release he be taken to a detention centre and be deported to Jamaica. As a result of this campaign and an appeal by his solicitor's Osime was not taken to the detention centre  upon his release due to his ill health, he is now home, yet still awaits deportation. Click here to sign the petition to stop the deportation of Osime Brown.

The Event Series

Summer 2020 saw a call to action. The Black Lives Matter movement has demanded immediate and radical changes that are needed to address the violent and institutionalised racism embedded in the justice system and policing worldwide. 

During September and October 2020, the Garden Court Chambers Criminal Defence Team held a series of webinars entitled ‘Drill Music, Gangs and Prosecutions – Challenging Racist Stereotypes in the Criminal Justice System'. The panels featured community activists and non-legal academics, contributing real insight and lived experience, inspiring us to bring about real change. The recordings have been watched by over 2,000 people.

The fight for racial justice is rooted in collaborative action; we want to build on this, push the boundaries, and educate ourselves in how we can initiate tangible and equitable change in the criminal justice system.

The current Garden Court Chambers Black Lives Matter event series features Garden Court counsel and explores issues that range from the American experience of how the State uses Rap lyrics and videos to prosecute serious crime, UK policing of so-called "gang activity" resulting in deportation, in-depth analysis of racism in the justice system and the Black Lives Matter protests.

Part 1 - How the US and UK state criminalise Rap and how to combat it
5pm-6:30pm, Wednesday 20 January 2021 & 5pm-6.30pm, Wednesday 12 May 2021
An international event where we were joined by US academics, experts, attorneys, and UK Counsel. Our panel considered, shared, and discussed tactics on how to combat the state’s use of rap lyrics in prosecuting serious crime, asking questions about both intention and subsequent consequences. Should the UK adopt the pre-trial proactive campaigning style sometimes used by defence attorneys in the US? How do we encourage more people who actually know about the reality of Rap to step up and become experts? What happens in capital cases and how do you deal with the pressure? 

Part 3 - How to understand and confront racism in the justice system
5pm-6.30pm, Wednesday 3 March 2021
Dexter Dias QC, joined by Keir Monteith QC and Danielle Manson, of Garden Court Chambers presented an in-depth analysis of racism in the justice system. Dexter Dias QC broadcast a TEDx Talk in 2020 entitled 'Racism thrives on silence - speak up!', which received well over 1 million views, this webinar discussed further the issues he raises in this TEDx talk, namely it exposed toxic myths about race, in order to allow hope, change and justice to flourish. This webinar was chaired by Judy Khan QC of Garden Court Chambers.

Part 4 - Defending Black Lives Matter protests 
5pm-6.30pm, Tuesday 18 May 2021
Following the Garden Court Chambers webinar series on protest law in June/July 2020, we will be focusing on the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests of summer 2020. Black Protest Legal Support, a group of Legal Observers set up to support BLM activists and protesters, reported a worrying return to dangerous and racially motivated policing tactics at these protests. These include accounts of horses charging at protesters, kettling of crowds (during a pandemic), and violence against protesters and legal observers. We will explore how to fight racist policing and protect the right to protest. Presented and organised by Fatima Jichi and Zehrah Hasan of Garden Court Chambers, both founding members of Black Protest Legal Support

Part 5 - ‘I smell Cannabis’ 
5pm-6.30pm, Tuesday 22 June 2021
This event will explore how we might combat evidence from unlawful searches. Audrey Cherryl Mogan of Garden Court Chambers and other speakers will investigate how the US judicial system is responding to arguments to stop unlawful search trials in their tracks. Could UK judges be persuaded to follow the US example? 

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