British man sues Home Office for deporting him to Jamaicatext_fields
London: Richard Wallace, a British man, has launched legal action against the UK's Home Office for incorrectly deporting to Jamaica. He alleged that he, as a Black man, was the victim of institutional racism.
Richard was born in London in 1969 and his parents had come to Britain as part of the Windrush generation in the 1950s. He was convicted of murdering a man in 1998. While serving the sentence, he was incorrectly classified as Jamaican. He thinks it was a case of mistaken identity. In 2015, he was deported to Jamaica. Three years later, he used his British passport to return to the UK. Upon arrival, he was accused of using his own passport fraudulently and jailed for two years. He was released in 2020 after DNA tests of his and his family's samples proved his identity.
Speaking to The Guardian, he said the events left him "completely broken". His solicitor Naga Kandiah said the deportation was due to "serious maladministration and incompetence". Wallace believes that he was deported because officials confused him with somebody else. "I told them dozens of times that I was Richard Wallace, a British citizen. But they didn’t listen to me." The Home Office had not commented on the matter.
Wallace spent the early years of his life in the UK with his parents. The family later moved to Jamaica. At 18, he returned to continue his education. When he was convicted of murder, it was for 20 years. A judge later reduced his sentence saying Wallace made "exceptional" progress in prison, earned many educational qualifications, worked as a peer tutor, intervened to prevent another prisoner from dying by suicide, and did charity work.
He further said that he took responsibility for the crime he committed and decided to spend the time in prison purposefully. He also did not resist being deported because he felt hopeless and powerless. "All of this has been so traumatic for me. The authorities wore me down and they broke me. I don’t believe this injustice would have happened to me if I was white. They would have said: ‘he’s one of ours’. I’ve experienced institutional racism throughout. One prison officer called me a ‘monkey’ but when I complained nothing was done."
He has received a new British passport in 2021. He is now planning to set up a catering business specialising in north African and Caribbean food. He also mentors young people at risk of getting involved in knife crime.