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Activists Say Deportation Of Man Will Be Illegal

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Attorney Fred Smith QC

By LAMECH JOHNSON

Tribune Staff Reporter

ljohnson@tribunemedia.net

HUMAN rights advocates are deploring the fact that a man, who recently had charges of illegal entry dismissed in Magistrate’s Court, is being held at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre awaiting deportation.

Fred Smith, QC, said his legal team would do what it could to prevent the “illegal deportation” of 27-year-old Jean Mary Justilien.

Magistrate Andrew Forbes ruled last Tuesday that there was no evidence to show that the 27-year-old had illegally entered the Bahamas in June.

Mr Justilien was shot during an immigration round up in Palmetto Point, Eleuthera, on June 9 and airlifted to the Princess Margaret Hospital for treatment.

He was later taken into police custody on suspicion of assaulting a police officer and an immigration officer in the execution of their duties, according to police in an earlier statement.

Police later concluded that the alleged assault resulted in the accidental discharge of the police officer’s service revolver “causing injuries to the face and shoulder of the suspect”.

Despite being acquitted of the illegal entry charge, Mr Justilien has not been released.

Yesterday, Mr Smith told this newspaper that authorities would not let his client see his lawyers on Friday and Saturday.

Mr Smith added: “I got an urgent call this morning from Justilien’s family – (officials) took him to the airport, put him on a plane, then took him off. He’s back at the (Carmichael Road) Detention Centre now. And I heard they’re going to try to deport him tomorrow (Monday) morning. And there’s no deportation order. There’s a complete breakdown in law and order in The Bahamas at the top.

“They wouldn’t even let his family give him $40 on the bus, so that when he got to Haiti he would have a couple of dollars in his hand,” the lawyer said.

Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell told The Tribune that he could not comment on the matter.

“I told you all that’s an operational matter. You would have to speak with the director of immigration on that,” Mr Mitchell said when contacted for comment.

When informed that Immigration Director William Pratt declined questions from this newspaper moments earlier, Mr Mitchell said: “I’m out of the country so I still could not comment on it.”

Mr Pratt, when contacted by this newspaper at 2pm yesterday, said: “I’m not taking any interviews. I’m at supper.”

Last week, Amnesty International declared urgent action concerning Mr Justilien’s case. The international human rights group also said it is “calling on the authorities to immediately release Justilien from detention, as he was acquitted by the Magistrate’s Court for irregular entry.”

It is also “calling on (officials) to ensure Justilien is not subject to torture or other ill-treatment, and to allow him immediate access to an independent doctor of his choosing.”

In September, Mr Justilien filed a writ against the government seeking $500,000 in damages for the shooting and breaches to his constitutional rights.

Last week, Magistrate Forbes ruled that there was no evidence to show that Mr Justilien has illegally entered the country.

Magistrate Forbes added that the prosecution had made no headway in providing evidence to support the allegation throughout the duration of the case.

The judge also noted that there was no concrete proof of Mr Justilien’s identity, reasoning that if the accused was said to be undocumented, as reported by Mr Pratt in June, then there is no way to actually prove that the man who stood before him yesterday was in fact “Jean-Mary Justilien”.

The aforementioned, along with other inconsistencies surrounding the alleged series of events, resulted in Magistrate Forbes ruling that the charge against Justilien be dismissed.

However, Mr Justilien was required to remain in custody until certain requisite “administrative procedures” had been carried out and completed.

His lawyer, Fred Smith, QC, filed a habeas corpus writ seeking his immediate release, but a hearing will now be held on December 10 in the Supreme Court.

The Grand Bahama Human Rights Association, which is headed by Mr Smith, also expressed concern over the 27-year-old’s fate.

“There is no legal justification for this move to deport him whatsoever, yet it is the second time since the beginning of his ordeal that we have been informed of a plan to do just that.”

“We believe that Justilien is not in possession of his travel documents and other important identification papers at this time. He risks arriving in Haiti with no way to prove his identity and as a result, may face further serious violations of his human rights.”

On Friday, Amnesty International also said it is aware of reports that “the implementation of the reform of the immigration policy has fuelled a climate of xenophobia in the country, and led to arrests, detentions and subsequent deportations of alleged undocumented migrants, through arbitrary round-ups, which disproportionately affects Bahamians of Haitian descent and Haitians.”

Comments

Economist 2 years ago

This has got to stop.

If our government is seen as lawless it will push foreign direct investment even further away.

Not only that, it will bring us under greater international scrutiny.

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birdiestrachan 2 years ago

"illegal deportation" The man came to the Bahamas illegally he has no documents . The Magistrate does not know who the man is so how can he sue. He is a Haitian and not a Bahamian and he should be sent back to Haiti. While they are at it charges should be made against his family for aiding and abetting an illegal immigrant. They sent for him that is why he is in the Bahamas. Break down of the law is when illegal immigrants and their families refuse to obey the laws of the Bahamas. Fred smith is playing games. With the Bahamas and its people. He seems to have lost his mind. does he respect the laws of the Bahamas when it comes to illegal entry into the Bahamas.

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MonkeeDoo 2 years ago

birdiestrachan: Since you are online today and speaking of the law tell us about Prime Minister Christie and Blackbeard's Cay and the Supreme Court declaration that the development has been illegally done. Tell us birdie - tweet tweet !

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sheeprunner12 2 years ago

Soooooooo , how can any court official defend the right of an illegal immigrant to lawfully remain in this country???????? We should investigate this Magistrate's motives

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My2cents 2 years ago

Economist is right, the government does need to follow the law, sign the deportation order and ship him out tomorrow and also arrest the family members for aiding his illegal entry.

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Economist 2 years ago

My2cents, you are correct. If the government signed the deportation order and followed the correct procedure everyone, except Mr. Justillien, would be happy.

Foreign investors would see a country that follows proper procedures in a lawful manner. That would give them more confidence to invest and improve our economy.

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cooperboy 2 years ago

The burden of proof lies upon the accused to prove his legal status in the Bahamas. The man has no passport, no Immigration landing card and no work or Resident Permit. The Immigration Laws states that the Director of Immigration may order any person falling in the above category to be placed onboard any aircraft or ship and sent out of the country. Imagine an illegal immigrant wanting to sue the Bahamas Government? Those who don't like or agree with this law can all go jump in the lake or live some place else. And take Amnesty International with them.

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killemwitdakno 2 years ago

He's being deported for entering illegally, struggling with officers, escaping a moving vehicle whilst detained and leading them on a chase into the bushes twice. Not a potentially orderly citizen. Permanent residents in the states may be deported for riding with someone who has marijuana on them.

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