Convicted sex offender launches bid to stop deportation
A convicted sex offender has launched a legal bid to avoid being deported back to his homeland of Jamaica.
Brittonie Taylor, released from Westgate last October after serving eight years for a serious sex assault, will ask the Supreme Court today to quash a deportation order signed by the Governor.
Taylor, 40, has been granted legal aid for the civil action against the Governor and the Minister of Labour, who is responsible for immigration.
His lawyer, Victoria Greening of Resolution Chambers, will request that a “full and fair hearing” be held so she can argue the case for Taylor to be allowed to stay on the island, where he has lived since 2000 and where he has four Bermudian children.
Taylor said in an affidavit that he had a 23-year-old stepdaughter, 17-year-old twins and a ten-year-old son with his Bermudian wife.
He said: “I have a close relationship with my children, particularly with my 17-year-old son.
“Since my release in October 2020, I have spent regular and quality time with him, fishing and making up for the time lost when I was incarcerated.
“My son was – and still is – extremely distressed when he learned that I had been taken back to prison and that the authorities are considering my deportation.”
Taylor’s civil suit asked for unspecified damages for what he claimed was his “unlawful and unfair” detention since March 28.
He was due to be flown back to Jamaica on March 29 but Magistrates’ Court heard last month that he was arrested the day before for an alleged failure to attend a preflight Covid-19 test and breach of an order to quarantine.
The court was told he made threatening comments while he was being taken to Westgate after his arrest.
It is alleged he told officers he would “take the whole plane down” if they deported him.
An immigration officer said the threat would have to be shared with the commercial airline he was scheduled to fly with and it was unlikely they would consent to carry him.
Senior magistrate Juan Wolffe authorised that Taylor be detained at Westgate.
Ms Greening filed a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of her client earlier this month.
She claimed his arrest and detention was unlawful because he had not been before the courts for any offence since his release from prison.
Puisne Judge Larry Mussenden, after a two day Supreme Court hearing last week at which The Royal Gazette was not present, ruled that Taylor’s detention was lawful because of his conduct when he was served with the deportation notice.
But Mr Justice Mussenden said a rescheduled deportation via private jet – due to happen last Friday – should not go ahead until the outcome of the civil suit brought by Taylor.
Taylor made a brief appearance at Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
Lauren Sadler-Best, for the Attorney-General’s Chambers, said: “While the deportation order still exists, the deportation of Mr Taylor is now paused due to the order of the Supreme Court made last Thursday.”
Magistrate Craig Attridge stayed the Magistrates’ Court proceedings until a Supreme Court ruling on Taylor’s civil suit.
This morning’s hearing, which will be before Mr Justice Mussenden, is for leave to apply for a judicial review. The Royal Gazette asked to attend but was refused permission by the court registrar.
Taylor has been working for Millwood’s Construction and Maintenance since his release from jail.
He said in another affidavit filed with the court: “I … believe that to detain and deport me without the opportunity for me to make further representations or afford me a full hearing is unfair and in contravention of my rights.”
Ms Greening told The Royal Gazette: “Everyone deserves the opportunity to make proper and full representations when it comes to the Government making a decision about their deportation.”
Taylor was imprisoned for 16 years in 2012 after he pleaded guilty to a daylight serious sexual assault on a woman at a bus stop on South Road in Smith's the previous year.
He admitted carrying his victim to an isolated area and forcing her to perform a sex act on him.
Taylor also attempted to rape the woman, but she was able to alert a passer-by to the attack.
The sentence was later reduced to 14 years by the Court of Appeal.
He also admitted to twice accosting a woman jogger in Hamilton Parish 35 minutes before the bus stop attack and was sentenced to another year in jail for intruding on her privacy.
Attorney-General Kathy Lynn Simmons issued a public notice warning of Taylor’s release from jail.
The judicial review application said Taylor was served with a deportation order on March 28. He was earlier told by immigration authorities on his release from jail that he would be deported.
His lawyer claimed Taylor wrote to the immigration authorities last October 15 “formally advising” of his resistance to being deported.
A court filing said the Minister of Labour recommended to John Rankin, then the Governor, last November that Taylor should be deported and Mr Rankin signed the deportation order the next day.
A Department of Immigration spokesman said last night: “The Government has taken all appropriate steps to deport Mr Taylor in the public interest.” [See full statement in panel below]
Alison Crocket, the Deputy Governor, said: “Unfortunately, we are unable to comment on ongoing proceedings such as these.”
“Regarding the deportation of Brittonie Taylor, this matter is currently before the courts, and the Government will limit its public comments to ensure this matter is not prejudiced.
As a standard operational procedure, when it is: i) more economical; ii) logistically appropriate; or iii) a specific security threat, the Department of Immigration will utilise a portion of its appropriated budget for deportations to engage a private jet, as has been done in the past.
The Covid-19 pandemic has complicated the logistics for airline flights in recent months. However, the Department of Immigration is pressing forward with deporting specific individuals as planned.
The Government has taken all appropriate steps to deport Mr Taylor in the public interest.
Mr Taylor’s legal representatives have petitioned the courts, which is a matter of public record.
The Government intends to fully and lawfully pursue this matter.“
* It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on court cases.