Practice and Procedure


PUBLISHED January 21, 2003

Where the appellant, who had been a police informer, had adduced fresh evidence to show that there was a risk to her life and the possibility of degrading treatment if she was returned to Jamaica, her removal from the United Kingdom would be in breach of her human rights.Appeal from the decision of the Immigration Appeal Tribunal ('IAT') dated 19 March 2002 to dismiss the appellant's appeal from the decision of the adjudicator following the secretary of state's refusal of her asylum claim. The appellant ('X') had arrived in the United Kingdom from Jamaica in 1998 and had been granted leave to remain as a visitor for six months. X came from the Tivoli Gardens area of Jamaica, which was dominated by a gang loyal to the Jamaican Labour Party ('JLP'). In 1994 X's daughter had been shot and killed by a gang member, and X reported that member's name to the police. In 1995, X's son had also been shot and killed after he had threatened to ensure that the relevant gang members went to prison for killing his sister. Following threats to X made by members of the gang, X moved to a different part of Jamaica not dominated by the JLP and subsequently moved to different parts of Jamaica. In 1996 X's brother was shot and killed, as was her eldest daughter's boyfriend. The adjudicator concluded that X had not demonstrated persecution, and that there was no evidence of an attempt to locate X after she had moved such that it was reasonable to expect her to settle elsewhere in Jamaica. In evidence to the IAT, X described how she had been vulnerable and had been sexually abused in 1997 and 1998 when living outside of her original neighbourhood. The IAT had before it two experts' reports concerning X's vulnerability in places in Jamaica other than Tivoli Gardens. The IAT in dismissing X's appeal held that there were other previous untried areas of Jamaica where X could live. On appeal, with permission of the court, X adduced further evidence in the form of three additional experts' reports, all of which supported and embellished on the reports before the IAT and one of which described how gangs' power extended over the whole island such that X would be at serious risk of harm if returned, and her own additional statement describing sexual exploitation. X argued that she should be seen as falling within the Refugee Convention as the IAT had stressed the political context in which the gangs operated, and that to return X would be in breach of Arts.2 and 3 European Convention on Human Rights.HELD: (1) X's own evidence regarding the risk to her safety derived from the fact that she was regarded as an informer. That was the reason for the threats and why she was at risk. It was difficult to regard that as persecution for a Convention reason. There was no evidence that X would have been perceived as adopting a political stance when she informed police, only that she had betrayed the gang. (2) The fresh evidence was compelling and established a real risk that the gang would be likely to find and seek X on her return. Moreover, even if X did find another location in Jamaica in which to live, the evidence showed that she would be vulnerable there. The evidence now available, which was not before the IAT, established that to return X to Jamaica ran the real risk that she would be subjected to degrading treatment within Art.3 of the Convention quite apart form the risk to her life. (3) On the evidence before the court, there was only one sensible conclusion, and the matter was not remitted.Appeal allowed.