‘Bogus’ lesbian refugee avoids deportation

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

An asylum seeker who pretended to be a lesbian to ensure she could remain in the UK, has won the right to stay because the Home Office delayed over her appeal, a judge ruled today.

Carol Ajoh claimed she was a lesbian to avoid being sent back to Jamaica in 2000, claiming she would be persecuted over her sexuality if she returned to her home country.

Mr Justice Collins said Ms Ajoh, had been “entirely dishonest” in her asylum claim, but the Home Office was guilty of an “inexcusable and appalling” 22-month delay, which gave her time to start a family in the UK.

He said at the High Court that it would be a “disproportionate” breach of her human rights to send her away, “To sit on it for nigh-on two years is appalling. The Home Office has failed properly to comply with its own procedures.

“The Home Office simply cannot get away with this sort of appalling behaviour.”

Ms Ajoh, 34, came to the UK on a six month visitor’s visa in February 1999. She lived in Brixton, south-west London and was joined in 2001 with her children from her marriage in Jamaica.

In February 2002, after her visa expired she applied for asylum arguing that she had become “purely a lesbian” since having her three children, Shakeera, 16, Shawn, 15, and Mark, 12.

The Home Office rejected her claim, but she appealed in April 2003 while facing deportation, and married a second husband, British citizen, Anthony Ajoh.

Soon after that she withdrew the sexual orientation reason as a basis for appeal and applied for leave on the basis of her new marriage.

She then gave birth to twins in August 2003 and a baby boy in September 2005, while still waiting for a Home Office decision.

The Home Office eventually rejected the appeal in March 2005, only for her to appeal it again, arguing that she had established a family life and deportation would breach her human rights.

Her lawyer, Ashitey Ollennu, said today at the High Court, that she had made the her bogus asylum claim after being given “misleading advice”.

Parishil Patel, appearing for the Home Office, claimed it would not be disproportionate to remove Mrs Ajoh, despite a two year gap.

But the judge quashed his argument, “It lacks merit and certainly lacks humanity”.

“Where you are dealing with human beings, in particular where you are dealing with a family, with children settled down here, surely it is of more importance that a decision is reached within a reasonable time.”