Court name
Supreme Court of Turks and Caicos Islands
Case number
CL 33 of 2020

Ravikkumar, Ariyaputhuran v. Derek Been, Director of Immigration and The Attorney General of the TCI (CL 33 of 2020) [2020] TCASC 13 (31 March 2020);

Law report citations
Media neutral citation
[2020] TCASC 13
Case summary:

Before the Court was a writ of Habeas Corpus ad subjiciendum ordering the first Respondent to bring the body of the Applicant to Court. The Applicant is a Sri Lankan national. On the night of 10 October 2019, he along with 27 other Sri Lankans and 1 Indian national (all males) were apprehended and detained while in the process of entering the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) unlawfully, contrary to ss. 4 and 102 (1) (a) and (b) of the Immigration Ordinance (Cap. 5.01). They had travelled from Haiti by boat and were accompanied by 125 Haitian nationals, who were likewise apprehended and detained. The boat was intercepted within the territorial waters of the TCI. They were all – the Sri Lankans (including the Applicant) and the Indian national - in detention at the date of the hearing.

Headnote and holding:

Release of the Applicant denied. No order as to costs. 

These are statements of the limitations on a statutory power of detention pending removal: (i) The power can only be exercised during the period necessary, in all the circumstances of the particular case, to effect removal; (ii) If it becomes clear that removal is not going to be possible within a reasonable time, further detention is not authorized; and (iii) The person seeking to exercise the power of detention must take all reasonable steps within his power to ensure removal within a reasonable time (paras 5-6); see Tan Te LAM and Others v. Superintendent of Tai A Chau Detention Center and Another [1997] AC 97 (APPLIED); Regina v. Governor of Durham Prison, Ex parte Hardial Singh [1984] 1 W.L.R. 704, dicta of Woolf J (APPLIED) 

There is no question that the Applicant was apprehended in the act of entering the Islands unlawfully, i.e. without the leave of an immigration officer and from an unauthorized port. In doing so he committed the offences of knowingly entering the Islands without leave contrary to s. 102 (1) (a) of the Ordinance, and of knowingly entering the Islands from an unauthorized port contrary to s. 102 (1) (b) of the Ordinance. The initial detention that began on the night of 10 October 2019 was therefore authorized and lawfully exercised (paras 9-10); see Regina (Lumba) v. Secretary of State for the Home Department [2012] 1 AC 245 and [2011] UKSC 12, dicta of Lord Dyson from the AC report at p. 274, para. 65 (APPLIED) 

The length of the detention in the instant case nowhere near approaches excessive on the first Hardial Singh principle (paras 14-15); see Chijioke v. The Commissioner of Police of St. Vincent and the Grenadines et. Al. SVGHCC 232/2010 (unreported) (CONSIDERED); there is no ground for believing that repatriation will not be possible within a reasonable time (para 16); the Director of Immigration was taking all reasonable steps to secure the repatriation of the Applicant (paras 17, 19) 

The hearsay evidence contained in the affidavits sworn on behalf of the Respondents does not affect the admissibility of the evidence but goes instead to costs and weight (paras 12-13). See Evidence (Special Provisions) Ordinance, s 16(1), (4). 

Simons QC, J