Abdulrahman Mohammed spent 14 months Unlawfully Detained and Got £78,500 Damages

Abdulrahman Mohammed spent 14 months Unlawfully Detained and Got £78,500 Damages

Mohammed v The Home Office [2017] EWHC 2809 (QB) (08 November 2017)

  1. Abdulrahman Mohammed is a 39-year-old Somali citizen. He came to the UK on 2 February 1996 at the age of 17. He has spent much of the last two decades in and out of custody, largely for serious criminal offences but he has also been detained by the Home Office pursuant to its powers to order the detention of foreign criminals who are liable to deportation.

  1. By this action, Mr Mohammed complains that three periods of immigration detention, totalling some 445 days, were unlawful:

2.1 41 days from 12 September to 22 October 2012;

2.2 139 days from 6 January to 24 May 2013; and

2.3 265 days from 14 June 2015 to 4 March 2016.

  1. Accordingly, Mr Mohammed claims damages for false imprisonment. Following the earlier judgment of Hayden J. upon Mr Mohammed’s claim for interim relief ([2016] EWHC 447 (Admin)), the Home Office conceded that he had been falsely imprisoned for 149 days between 8 October 2015 and 4 March 2016. This case was listed before me to determine the remaining issues of liability. However, the Home Office conceded liability in respect of all three periods of detention late on the afternoon before trial. Furthermore, the Home Office abandoned its argument that the Court should only award nominal damages. It therefore falls to me to assess damages.

  1. Mr Mohammed gave brief evidence in support of his case. In addition, he relied on the written evidence of Dr Lisa Wootton, a consultant in forensic psychiatry. The Home Office did not call any evidence.

  1. In my judgment, the correct sums for damages are as follows:

£8,500 for the first period of 41 days;

£25,000 for the second period of 139 days; and

£45,000 for the third period of 265 days,

making a total award in this case of £78,500.


  1. Some reading this judgment might well question why a foreign citizen who has so thoroughly abused the hospitality of this country by the commission of serious criminal offences is entitled to any compensation. There are, perhaps, three answers to such sceptic:

66.1 First, there are few principles more important in a civilised society than that no one should be deprived of their liberty without lawful authority.

66.2 Secondly, it is essential that where a person is unlawfully imprisoned by the state that an independent judiciary should hold the executive to account.

66.3 Thirdly, justice should be done to all people. In R (Kambadzi) v. Secretary of State for the Home Department [2011] UKSC 23, [2011] 1 WLR 1299, Baroness Hale said, at [61]: “Mr Shepherd Kambadzi may not be a very nice person. He is certainly not a very good person. He has overstayed his welcome in this country for many years. He has abused our hospitality by committing assaults and sexual assault. It is not surprising that the Home Secretary wishes to deport him. But in Roberts v. Parole Board [2005] UKHL 45, [2006] 1 All ER 39, at [84] … Lord Steyn quoted the well-known remark of Justice Frankfurter in United States v. Rabinowitz (1950) 339 US 56, at 69, that ‘It is a fair summary of history to say that the safeguards of liberty have frequently been forged in controversies involving not very nice people.’ Lord Steyn continued: ‘Even the most wicked of men are entitled to justice at the hands of the State.’ And I doubt whether Mr Kambadzi is the most wicked of men.”

  1. 6Mr Mohammed is a prolific and violent offender. I can well understand why the Home Secretary might wish to deport him. She has not, however, been able to do so, largely because of the very real risk that deportation to Somalia would pose. Like Mr Kambadzi, he is not the most wicked of men, but his presence in the UK is not conducive to the public good. Nevertheless, in a civilised society, he is entitled to justice. Specifically, he is entitled not to be falsely imprisoned and, given the Home Office’s admission that he has been unlawfully detained, he is now entitled to the compensation that I have awarded.

Published on Bailii, 09/11/2017

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