Ms Kapila's fists were forcably prised open by police officers
03 February 2012
Excessive police force during deportation could lead to New Zealand visa
Two separate inquiries have ruled that New Zealand immigration and police officials breached the limits of their legal powers when they prised an Indian woman's fists open to put her fingerprints on her deportation papers.
The result of the inquiry now entitles Pooja Kapila to continue her fight for a New Zealand visa and remain in the country with her husband and two children.
The woman's husband, Satinder Kapila, has also now been released from detention after nearly four months in Waikeria Prison while he awaited his own deportation; New Zealand immigration authorities did not contest the decision to release Mr Kapila.
Inquiries by the police and immigration officials both ruled that obtaining Ms Kapila's fingerprints by force - prising open her clenched fists - constituted excessive force. New Zealand immigration authorities have ruled that, as a result of the inquiries, the family can lodge a deportation appeal and apply for a New Zealand visa.
Mr Kapila admitted after his release that his wife's ordeal was a blessing in disguise and he was happy to be reunited with his wife, his daughter Simran, 14, and his son Abhay, 9.
The family arrived in New Zealand 10 years ago and was under the assumption that the immigration lawyer they had been paying to secure them permanent residency was still representing them.
However, when immigration authorities raided their home and took Mr Kapila into detention it was revealed their last visa application was filed in 2005.
Ms Kapila has since stated she will not pursue any disciplinary action against the officers responsible for her ordeal, believing they had acted in good faith and was imply grateful for the opportunity to stay in New Zealand.
The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy that specialises in helping people apply for a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa.