Champagne corks must have appeared in the offices of a number of law firms this week. The festive mood was perhaps embodied in the first three words of a tweet from a law firm in the wee hours of Wednesday morning. The three words in question were, "What a result."
It was the kind of response you would expect from the scientists responsible for the vaccine breakthroughs, for example.
In fact, the attorney, whose office is based in the heart of the London law firm, had just succeeded in obtaining an injunction to prevent “our Jamaican client” from being thrown out of the country.
Priti Patel pictured was disappointed this week after "leftist lawyers" thwarted attempts to deport a group of Jamaican criminals in a specially chartered plane
His "client", whose exact crime is unknown, was part of the group of criminals – including murderers, rapists and drug traffickers – who were removed from a deportation flight to the Caribbean at the last minute following legal challenges. Surely no one but the "leftie lawyers" (description by Home Secretary Priti Patel) who do this type of job well and the people they represented on that plane would consider what happened as a victory.
The attorney's tweet read in full, “What a result, new agents (representations) filed for our Jamaican client.
“Representatives filed at 11.30pm and then an injunction at 12.45pm. Close call but was taken off the flight. "
It was posted under the hashtag #Jamaica 50 – an indication that only 13 criminals from the original list of 57 were on board the Home Office charter plane that took off from Stansted Airport.
At least the lawyer himself acted free of charge – free of charge. And his client – a Jamaican national and father of five who was given free time because of “substance abuse” – was admittedly possibly not the most dangerous person on the plane. The attorney would not disclose the crime, but said he was not a "drug dealer" when we contacted him yesterday.
"He has served his sentence and rehabilitated and has become a family man," he said. "He has a British wife and children here in the UK." At a time of rising crime in an increasingly lawless UK, many will find his tweet and the cheerful pouring of other lawyers on social media at the center of this controversy uncomfortable.
The lawyer who posted the late-night tweet also admitted that "there were some people on the flight convicted of heinous crimes that cannot be tolerated".
Among the criminals Home Secretary Priti Patel wanted to deport was Jermaine Stewart, from Liverpool, who was jailed in 2014 for raping a woman who fell asleep on his sofa
But one could be forgiven for being victims by reading some of their posts. Victims of Modern Slavery – the defense is now used by drug dealers who claim to have been or have been exploited or trafficked by criminal gangs; Victim of an authoritarian state that dissolves families by kicking fathers out of the country and victims of brutal policies comparable to the Windrush scandal.
Take this from a lawyer in a London Chamber: "My client came to the UK at the age of 11 and is a victim of human trafficking … his human rights rights have never been fully recognized."
Or this from a lawyer in a law firm: "Today many children woke up without knowing if they would ever see their fathers again and wondered why no one is listening." I am grateful that many got off the plane, but it was a brutal night. I am very happy to be working on this with a brilliant advisory team. "
On Tuesday afternoon, a charity that works closely with law firms even tweeted an "urgent call" for attorneys willing to contest deportations because clients were unable to fly due to factors such as "high blood pressure".
Among those who eventually got redress, in case you were wondering, were Liverpool's Jermaine Stewart, who was sentenced to six years in prison in 2014 for raping a woman who fell asleep on his sofa, and drug dealer Michael White, who was sentenced to prison at least 18 years in 2003 – who, along with an accomplice, shot and killed a man they believed owed them money.
One of the biggest players in this area of law represented a number of people on the deportation flight (not Stewart or White) – it is believed this is done through mutual legal assistance, although this cannot be confirmed.
The company has received £ 55 million in legal aid from UK taxpayers in just three years – nearly £ 20 million in immigration cases. His legal "successes" include preventing the deportation of 14 serious criminals to Jamaica in February.
The company is now the UK's largest provider of legal aid services and employs 700 people – "legal practitioners who represent clients on matters of concern to Labor".
The firm denies being “leftie lawyers”. "We are not politically motivated," it says on the company's website.
However, staff regularly attend Labor Party events where their attorneys have been photographed with Jeremy Corbyn, ex-Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and Reps David Lammy, Yvette Cooper, Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth and union boss "Un" Len McCluskey .
In the past, employees have traveled to Calais and offered assistance to refugees to get to the UK. Critics say the visits put the company in pole position to represent the same migrants who may need help to stay in the UK if they successfully cross the Channel. The claim, to be precise, is that they did business.
Activists have compared the Home Office's actions to the Empire Windrush scandal, in which people were mistakenly deported to the Caribbean for not being able to prove they had the right to stay in the UK despite living in the country for up to 50 years
The company addresses this criticism again on its website: "Our work in Calais was completely correct," the statement reads. “In 2016 we tried to advise and support unaccompanied children who were living in poor conditions in the Calais migrant camp.
On two consecutive trips to Calais in 2018, a small group of our employees traveled to help a charity called Refuge Community Kitchen. We certainly didn't go to Calais to identify cases. We don't advertise work. "
It is believed that 36 Jamaican criminals were notified five days prior to the flight's deportation and none of them had any pending legal impediments to deportation at the time.
However, a large number then filed legal challenges. New allegations included human rights calls and allegations that criminals were victims of slavery.
One was pulled from the flight minutes before departure after his lawyers persuaded a judge to intervene.
Interior Ministry sources said the incident highlighted the "opportunistic" tactics used by immigration lawyers.
Would anyone but the lawyers themselves disagree?
Additional coverage: Tim Stewart
The Windrush victim's daughter warns against linking the scandal with the deportation of Jamaican murderers and rapists
By Emine Sinmaz and David Barrett for the Daily Mail
The daughter of a Windrush victim last night insisted that the scandal should not be linked to the deportation of Jamaican murderers and rapists.
Samantha Barnes-Garner, whose elder father Clayton Barnes was falsely targeted by the Home Office, said the two issues were "completely different".
The 50-year-old dance teacher insisted that it was “absolutely” right for the government to deport criminals to their home countries.
Clayton Barnes, falsely targeted by the Home Office, had lived in Britain for 50 years
His daughter, Samantha Barnes-Garner, said in the picture it was wrong to link her father's case to those of the criminals who are due to be deported this week
Their comments came after Home Secretary Priti Patel said in yesterday's Daily Mail that it was "deeply insulting" for Labor MPs and celebrities to "fuse" the Windrush scandal with a charter flight this week involving 13 Jamaican criminals removed.
Barnes, now 84, was stranded in Jamaica despite having worked in Britain for more than half a century. "It's a completely different topic, there is no way the two should be linked," added Ms. Barnes-Garner.
"In my father's case, he was not allowed to return to the country for no apparent reason, even though he had been here since 1959.
"He had done all of his work here and committed no crimes – he paid his taxes and he worked."
Mr Barnes, a retired roofer from Milton Keynes, was trapped in Jamaica after going there in 2010 to renovate his home that had been damaged by a hurricane.
When he tried to return to the UK for Christmas in 2013, he was told that his permanent residence permit was invalid.
Mr Barnes came to the UK in 1959 and wanted to split his retirement between the UK and Jamaica
The five-headed grandfather said at the time: “I feel terrible, like I am being treated as a criminal. I came here to fix the house so I could split my retirement between Jamaica and England but now I'm told I can't go back. It's like I've been deported.
“England was my home, I lived there, worked there, got married there and had children there. I've worked hard, paid my taxes, and have no criminal record. Why can't i come back "
The Home Office mistake resulted in Mr Barnes being unable to access NHS care in 2018 due to a lung problem – despite having paid taxes in that country for 51 years. After his case was reported in the mail in April 2018, he was granted a biometric residence permit.
Yesterday, Miss Patel beat up Labor MPs and celebrities like supermodel Naomi Campbell and actress Thandie Newton, who signed an open letter calling for the deportation flight to Jamaica to be stopped and linked to Windrush.
Yesterday, Miss Patel beat up Labor MPs and celebrities like supermodel Naomi Campbell and actress Thandie Newton, who signed an open letter calling for the deportation flight to Jamaica to be stopped and linked to Windrush
She said: "Not only is it misjudged and disturbing to see the ill-informed Labor politicians and celebrities trying to associate the Windrush victims with these heinous criminals, but also deeply insulting."
The Windrush scandal that emerged from 2017 led the Home Office to erroneously target people for removal following changes in immigration policy. You were completely innocent of any crime. The Jamaican nationals scheduled for deportation on Wednesday's interior ministry charter flight had been convicted of crimes such as murder and rape.
Only 13 deportations were carried out after lawyers managed to remove them from the passenger list for another 23.
These stars insult the Windrush generation: CALVIN ROBINSON slams celebrities who cite the scandal to prevent child rapists and murderers from being deported
On the mantelpiece in my grandparents' living room when I was growing up there was a model of the Empire Windrush, the ship that brought 500 people from the Caribbean to the UK in 1948.
The arrival at Tilbury Docks marked the beginning of a wave of Caribbean immigration that lasted until 1971.
My father's parents were among nearly half a million people who came in the following years – the so-called Windrush generation.
Grandma was so proud of this little model. It symbolized a new life for her and her family. They were good, hardworking people who instilled their work ethic on my father and then on me. I owe them so much.
Calvin Robinson pictured said that growing up there was a model of the Empire Windrush on the mantelpiece of his grandparents' living room
Unfortunately, details of a scandal surfaced in 2017 in which hundreds of innocent Commonwealth citizens who had the right to live and work here – many of them members of the Windrush generation – were wrongly arrested, deported and legally disapproved by the Home Office .
These were people like my grandparents who made tremendous contributions to our country, taking jobs in the NHS and other sectors that suffered from the acute labor shortages of the post-war years.
Their treatment has been, as Interior Minister Priti Patel said this week, "a stain in the history of our country" and shamed successive governments running a flawed immigration system.
It makes my blood boil when I hear selfish, virtuous celebrities invoking the Windrush scandal to stop the deportation of criminals, including child rapists and murderers.
As the Mail reported this week, 82 black community leaders signed an open petition to six airlines to protest the deportation of 50 Jamaican criminals to the Caribbean. Supermodel Naomi Campbell, actress Naomie Harris and TV historian David Olusoga were among those who, by signing the letter, I believe shamelessly and offensively connected innocent Windrush pioneers with the right to be in the UK convicted of terrible crimes.
One of the deported men, Michael Antonio White, is a convicted murderer who shot his victim at close range six times after a drug deal went wrong.
And one raped a drunk woman who was sleeping on a sofa.
None of them are British citizens – all were born in Jamaica. But on Wednesday, after the celebrities' outcry, they were among the 23 criminals who were struck off the passenger list pending further legal arguments.
I am disgusted that they could be named in the same breath as the Windrush generation. But the deceived, arrogant signatories could not help themselves: "Members of the Windrush generation or descendants of the Windrush" could be deported, they complained.
It is an outrageous claim and it is tarnishing the legacies of my grandparents and thousands like them for the sake of getting a cheap political point.
But in doing so, they have withdrawn into a ridiculous position of actually asking that malicious criminals be given special treatment. In this way, they undermine the very cause they want to support and make it difficult for ordinary people to stand up against real racism.
Labor politicians were no less quick to drag Windrush into the debate. Shadow Secretary of State for Immigration, Holly Lynch, mentioned the ship ten times on a question, as she too implied that some of the criminals "may be affected by the greater injustices that affected the victims of the Windrush scandal".
Who in their right mind would not want their country to get rid of murderous thugs? We have every right to protect ourselves and our children. What no one is allowed to do is swap memories of Windrush pioneers like my grandparents who brought so much good to the UK.
- Calvin Robinson is a former teacher and now the governor of a public school in London.
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