19 May 2010

Judge criticised for UK immigration comment

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A Crown Court judge has been officially rebuked over remarks that hundreds of thousands of immigrants come to Britain to get benefits.

Judge Ian Trigger made the UK immigration remarks while sentencing an illegal immigrant drug dealer to two years imprisonment.

Judge Trigger said the case “illustrates all too clearly the completely lax immigration policy” at the sentencing at Liverpool Crown Court in July last year. 

“People like you, and there are literally hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people like you, come to these shores to avail themselves of the generous welfare benefits that exist here,” he said.

A spokesperson for the judiciary said, Judge Trigger had received formal advice from the Lord Chief Justice following an investigation into the comments he made in open court while sentencing.

The investigation found, and the Lord Chief Justice agreed, that Judge Trigger made “an inappropriate judicial intervention in the political process” and that his criticism of immigration policy was “wholly unrelated” to the case of the Jamaican drug dealer he was sentencing.

The Jamaican drug dealer, Lucien McClearley, came to Britain as a tourist in 2001, claiming asylum when his UK visa ran out. The claim was rejected in 2004, but McClearley stayed in Britain. It was only when McClearley was stopped by police while driving, that the smell of cannabis prompted further investigation.

McClearley pleaded guilty to taking a vehicle without consent, possessing cannabis and cocaine, possessing a class B drug with intent and two counts of possessing false identity documents.

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