An ex-offender who was deported to Jamaica after being in the UK since he was 13 has told how he is being ‘punished twice’.
Rupert Smith, 32, from London, was jailed for 15 months for attacking a man with a wrench in 2016 and was one of 17 people on the controversial flight to Kingston on Tuesday.
Speaking to BBC Newsnight in Kingston, the father-of-three says he feels ‘numb, hurt and wounded’ and has begged for a second chance to stay in the UK.
Mr Smith says he feels he feels ’empty’ and that his youngest daughter, who turned four today, ‘cried her eyes out’ because he wasn’t there to celebrate her birthday.
Rupert Smith, 32, from London, was jailed for 15 months for attacking a man with a wrench in 2016 and was one of 17 people on the controversial flight to Kingston on Tuesday
‘I’m numb, hurt, wounded. There’s a lot of words to go for. The one at the moment is just ‘numb’. There is no sensation, no feeling,’ he told Newsnight.
‘Someone has just taken everything about your life from you. You just feel empty. Just emptiness.
‘My whole family, life, partner, kids, mum, brother, sister, neice, nephews, cousins – everyone’s abroad. So literally, I’m out here, doing what?’
The plane, which left for Jamaica at 7.30am on Monday, was supposed to be carrying 50 people that ministers categorised as having committed serious crimes.
Mr Smith says he has lived in the UK for almost two decades and has not been back to Jamaica since he left, with all three of children British citizens..
He said: ‘Apparently, I haven’t got family life in the UK. So what, the people that are there – who are there? Not my family?’
Speaking to BBC Newsnight, the father-of-three says he feels ‘numb, hurt and wounded’ after landing in Kingston and has begged for a second chance to stay in the UK
‘I’ve been in Britain for the last 18, 19 years. Since I left here, I haven’t been back. What is it that you’re actually sending me back to?’
‘I’ve got a son and two daughters. My son is 13, my middle child – she’s eight. The last one, she’s literally 4 today. Woke up this morning, crying her eyes out. ‘Daddy’s supposed to bring my cake’. How do you deal with that?’.
The flight went ahead despite legal challenges being underway, but the Prime Minister said that those on board ‘should have taken the precaution of not being serious criminals’.
But Mr Smith says he has already ‘served his time’ for the crime he was convicted for four years ago and says he is being punished for not being born in Britain.
Mr Smith says he has already ‘served his time’ for the crime his committed and feels like he is being punished more for not being born in Britain
He said: ‘I have done my crime, I’ve served my time. If I was a British child, it would have finished at me serving my time.
‘But because I’m Jamaican it’s like I’m serving my sentence three times over. You can’t judge someone based on one mistake.’
It comes after violent offenders could be back on the streets of Britain within 48 hours after judges blocked their deportation.
The Prime Minister is understood to be ‘furious’ at the prospect of 25 serious offenders being loose.
A judicial review stopped the criminals from being deported to Jamaica after claims that they had been denied access to legal advice.
Johnson (left) is said to be furious at the decision and Cummings (right) said the Court of Appeal’s review showed the dysfunction at work in Britain
Campaigners are pictured outside Downing Street demanding that the government halt the deportation flight entirely
Mr Davis, 30, who was convicted of robbery a decade ago, was due to be flown back to the Caribbean island nation, but was not among those who were deported today
Drugs offender, 26, is desperate to remain in the UK to look after his paralysed mother and his three daughters
‘To be separated from my kids, I would rather die,’ were the words of Adam Goulbourne inside a London deportation on Monday night.
The 26-year-old from St Jude’s was then taken to a coach with dozens of other detainees bound for Jamaica.
But upon arrival an officer got on and said he was one of four passengers going back to the detention centre.
He has lived in England since he was six years old. In 2017, he was found guilty of intent to supply Class A drugs and spent two years in prison before being released in April last year.
Since then he has been fighting a legal battle to remain in the UK to care for his mother, who suffered a stroke last year, and his three daughters.
The law was changed in 2012 to allow the deportation of criminals to their birth country, despite them being raised in Britain.
At the end of 2019 judges turned down his case and his final hope was pinned on his solicitor being able to win a last-minute reprieve from the courts, which he secured on Tuesday.
It means a killer, two sex offenders, a firearms offender, seven violent criminals and 14 drugs offenders remain.
Boris Johnson is hoping the speed up a bid to limit the powers of individuals and campaigners to use such reviews to challenge ministers, The Times reports.
His most senior adviser, Dominic Cummings, branded the Court of Appeal’s decision the ‘perfect symbol of the British state’s dysfunction’.
Cummings is pushing for an ‘urgent action on the farce that judicial review has become’.
The flight was supposed to be carrying 50 people that ministers categorised as having committed serious crimes.
The plane left for Kingston at about 7.30am yesterday, taking just 17 people on the journey.
It went ahead despite legal challenges being underway, but the Prime Minister said that those on board ‘should have taken the precaution of not being serious criminals’.
The government now fears that those remaining will secure bail within days and be released from immigration removal centres.
They can only remain in the centres if there is a reasonable prospect of their removal from the UK.
Mr Johnson’s official spokesman said that the public had now spent tens of thousands of pounds on appeals and judicial reviews for the offenders.
Home Secretary Priti Patel (pictured) has slammed Labour’s opposition to the deportation
Reshawn Davis, 30, who has a baby with his British wife, was detained on Friday and told he would be removed to Jamaica today following a robbery conviction, but was not among those who were deported today. Tajay Thompson (right, as a boy) was also facing deportation
Charge sheet of the 17 ‘serious criminals’ deported to Jamaica
The Government said 17 foreign criminals with a combined sentence of 75 years and one life sentence were deported on today’s charter flight.
This includes a combined total of 15.5 years for rape, 16 years for violent offences, almost 29 years for drugs-related offences, including Class A drugs and 14 years for robbery with possession of a firearms:
One convicted for rape and given an 11 year sentence
One convicted of rape and given a sentence of 4 years and 6 months
One convicted for a violent assault and given a sentence of 1 year and 3 months
One convicted of wounding with intend to cause GBH, possession of a weapon in public place Violent offences against a person (Wounding) 7 years
One convicted of a violent crime against a person and given a 8 year sentence
One convicted for intent to supply class A drugs – 7 year sentence
One persistent offender, whose most recent conviction was for drugs offences and intimidating a witness and given a total sentence of 11 months
One convicted for importing controlled drugs and given a sentence of four years
One convicted to supplying class A drugs and given a sentence of four years and six months
One convicted to supplying class A drugs and given a sentence of three years
One convicted of importing controlled class B drugs and given a three year sentence
One convicted of supplying class A drugs (crack cocaine) and given a sentence of 3 years and 2 months
One convicted of supplying class A drugs and given a sentence of 3 years and 4 months
Robbery and firearm offences
One convicted of robbery and give a life sentence
One convicted of robbery, firearms offence, theft of a vehicle and possessing class A drugs, given a five year sentence
One convicted for conspiracy to rob and possession of a firearm and given a sentence of 9 years
One convicted of burglary and given a prison sentence of 2 years and 6 months
The charity Detention Action successfully argued that some detainees at Colnbrook and Harmondsworth immigration removal centres had been unable to get legal advice because of a lack of phone coverage for O2 customers.
However, officials pointed out the men had access to landline telephones, Skype, the internet, email and legal surgeries at the facilities.
They included Randee Hall, 21, who was convicted in 2018 of possessing Class A drugs with intent to supply and jailed for four years. He has lived in the UK since he was two.
Another was Adam Golbourne, who has lived in England since he was six years old and cannot remember life outside of the UK.
In 2017, he was found guilty of intent to supply Class A drugs and spent two years in prison before being released in April last year.
Since then he has been fighting a legal battle to remain in the UK to care for his mother, who suffered a stroke last year, and his three daughters aged six, four, and three.
Maria Thomas, of Duncan Lewis solicitors which is acting for 14 of the offenders who were not deported, said that at least two would be bringing claims under the Modern Slavery Act.
She said that those in question claim that they were victims of people trafficking.
She called on the government to learn the lessons of the Windrush scandal, in which members of a generation of Caribbean migrants who helped to rebuild Britain after World War II were wrongly accused of being in the country illegally.
But Johnson said yesterday: ‘Obviously we don’t want to do anything that’s in contravention of the law, but on the other hand I think these individuals should have taken the precaution of not being serious criminals.
‘I think the public will understand it’s right for us to deport people who are guilty of very serious offences.’
Sources close to Home Secretary Priti Patel said: ‘All the Labour politicians who are trying every trick in the book to stop these deportation flights never think about the victims.
‘People suffered terrible crimes at the hands of these offenders and yet these campaigners couldn’t give a stuff. They never think about the victims.’
Under the UK Borders Act 2007, the Home Office must make a deportation order where a foreign national has been convicted of an offence and received a custodial sentence of 12 months or more.
This is subject to several exceptions, including where to do so would breach someone’s human rights or the UK’s obligations under the Refugee Convention.
The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) said the flight had ‘forced’ families apart, adding that the deportees were ‘British in every meaningful way and if the law allows those people to be exiled, it needs to change.’
A map shows the three closest phone masts to Colnbrooke and Harmondsworth detention centres. The charity Detention Action successfully argued that offenders at the two centres near Heathrow were unable to get legal advice due to a lack of phone coverage for O2 users caused by one of the phone masts malfunctioning