Mark Robinson of the Garden Court Crime Team, instructed by MMA Solicitors, was successful in obtaining a Writ of Habeas Corpus in the High Court (Administrative Court - Kings Bench Division).
Mark Robinson acted for his client who pleaded guilty to a Possession of a Bladed Article and received a 146-day custodial sentence at Reading Crown Court. He had already served 82 days on remand, so was due to be immediately released from custody. Mark, alerted by his client’s family that the client had still not been released, informed HMP Wormwood Scrubs Offender Management Unit to release the client.
Mark then made an urgent application for a Writ of Habeas Corpus to the High Court (Administrative Court - Kings Bench Division) on Saturday morning and had a full telephone hearing on Saturday afternoon with a High Court Judge.
During the telephone hearing, Mark provided the Judge with a court extract document, which enabled the precise amount of days Mark’s client served on remand to be calculated. The Judge found that Reading Crown Court was at fault for the first night that the client remained in unlawful detention. The Judge then granted the Writ of Habeas Corpus, ordering the immediate release of Mark’s client, as the error of time spent on remand had now been remedied. The Judge went further and said that the order would also stand as Judicial Review.
In an unexpected turn of events, HMP Wormwood Scrubs ignored the court order, and Mark’s client remained in custody. The instructing solicitor made numerous attempts on Saturday evening and Sunday to have the client released from prison. Mark contacted the prison again and was informed by the Offender Management Unit that his client was under an immigration hold. Despite being born in Nigeria, Mark’s client was a British citizen, with a UK passport. Mark informed the prison officer of this and also said that, in any event, the UK Borders Act 2007 did not apply (The Home Secretary is required by the 2007 Act to deport any foreign national who has received a custodial sentence of at least twelve months unless a specified exception applies).
Mark then made a fresh application for Contempt of Court against HMP Wormwood Scrubs for wilfully ignoring a court order, which was served. The prison then released Mark’s client one hour later.