Day: July 18, 2019

Hackney Man Who Grabbed Woman’s Buttom Convicted Of Sexual Assault

A man has been found guilty of sexual assault following a trial at Southwark Crown Court.

Daniel Omozusi of Hackney, East London was convicted on Wednesday, 10 July and will be sentenced at the same court on Friday, 2 August.

The court heard that on Monday, 26 November 2018, Omozusi approached a woman just outside Oxford Circus underground station and grabbed her buttock.

The victim, aged 35, turned around and challenged him but he denied the offence and tried to flee the scene.

As he was doing so, the victim was able to take a number of photos on her phone which she later provided to police.

As part of the investigation, a media appeal including the photo taken by the victim was launched, leading to the identification of Omozusi.

He was arrested by officers on Wednesday, 2 January where he admitted his actions.

Detective Constable Faisal El Issaoui, from the Met’s Central North CID, said:

“The victim in this case played a significant role in bringing Omozusi to justice and we commend her for her quick thinking and reporting his actions to police, which enabled us to identify this dangerous offender.

“We hope this conviction demonstrates how seriously we take sexual offences of any nature and encourages others subject to the same behaviour to come forward and report it.”

Nigeria’s Super Eagles Captain Mikel Obi Retires From International Football

Nigeria’s Super Eagles captain Mikel John Obi has retired from international football after leading the country to third place at African Cup of Nations in Egypt.

“At the age of 32 it’s time for me to retire from the National team and let the youth take over, who’ve done an amazing job securing a bronze medal at AFCON 2019,” Mikel said on Thursday.

Mikel played his first competitive match for the Super Eagles in Egypt against Zimbabwe and he has decided to call it quit in the same country to “let the youth take over”.

Mikel played two Fifa World Cup tournaments for Nigeria and four Africa Cup of Nations competitions where he won the title in 2013 and a bronze medal in 2019.

In 2005, Mikel represented the Nigeria under-20 team at the FIFA World Youth Championship and won the Silver Ball for the second-best player at the tournament behind Lionel Messi as Nigeria finished as runner-up to Argentina.

He made his debut for the Nigeria senior team on 17 August 2005, when he came on as a second-half substitute in a 1–0 friendly win over Libya.

He featured in the 2006 AFCON hosted by Egypt as he was introduced into the second game against Zimbabwe. He made his first international start in Nigeria’s final group game, a 2–1 victory over Senegal.

He was suspended from all Nigerian national teams in 2007 after he refused to play for the the Nigerian under-23 side because of injury, but his refusal resulted in his suspension by the Nigeria Football Federation. He apologised an was called up to the national squad for the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana where he scored a scored one goal.


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Mikel missed the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa due to injury but was at the 2013 AFCON and was instrumental in the tournament as Nigeria won the continent premier title the third time.

He was named by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in the team of the tournament alongside teammates Vincent Enyeama, Efe Ambrose, Victor Moses and Emmanuel Emenike.

In 2014, Mikel made his first appearance at the FIFA World Cup tournament in Brazil.

He featured in the 2016 Olympics where he scored his first ever Olympic goal in a 2–0 win against Denmark to advance to the semi-final. Nigeria lost to Germany in the semi-final but won the bronze medal at the expense of Honduras.

Mikel scored in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification match against Algeria.
Sharing a photo of himself in the national jersey, Mikel Obi wrote, “Egypt is a country where I’ve started and have finished my national career.


Prison Visitor Caught Trying To Smuggle Drugs, Mobile Phones And £40k Cash Into Jail

A visitor to a North East prison was caught trying to smuggle in a package full of banned items the size of a house brick down his trousers – including £40,000 of tobacco.

Theodore Adekoya turned up to meet an inmate he didn’t even know at HMP Northumberland with a packet of drugs and mobile phones stuffed down his trousers.

While in the visiting area, he was spotted passing the illicit goods under the table to prisoner Raheem Jackson, a court heard.

It contained the former legal high spice, cannabis, nine mobile phones and tobacco worth £40,000 in custody.

Adekoya was detained but when police said they didn’t have anyone free to come and arrest him, he was set free – and went on to damage a locker door in the visitor’s centre.

Now the 22-year-old, who had travelled to meet other inmates on previous occasions, has been jailed for 20 months at Newcastle Crown Court.

Judge Julie Clemitson told him: “You became embroiled in what was a wider criminal enterprise and you were foolish enough to become indebted to people who could use you to place pressure on you to take packages into prison.

These offences are particularly serious as they have an undermining effect to the whole prison establishment.

“They cause disorder and increase the risk to inmates and staff and they make it more difficult to run a prison in an orderly fashion.

“They create further crime in prison and they completely undermine efforts to rehabilitate people who had an addiction to drugs.”

It was on December 21 last year that Adekoya went to HMP Northumberland.

Michael Bunch, prosecuting, said: “During that visit the defendant was seen to pass a package to the prisoner he was visiting, described later as roughly the size of a house brick.

“Having been hidden under clothing, it was passed to the inmate, attempting to use the table as a screen.

“It was seen and they were separated and a package was recovered from Raheem Jackson when he was searched.

Adekoya was asked to remain pending the police’s arrival and he did for a time but officers were unable to attend straight away due to other commitments and so he was sent on his way.

Bunch said: “Having done that, he then made his way across to the visitor’s centre, forced open a door of that building, causing damage, then forced open a locker in the visitor’s centre.”

He was detained by staff, police were called again and arrived to arrest him.

When the package was examined it was found to contain 29g of cannabis and 42g of cannabis leaf, worth up to £540 in prison.

It also contained 5.5g of spice, nine mobile phones, nine mobile phone chargers and 142g of tobacco, worth around £4,000 in jail.

Adekoya pleaded guilty to conveying banned articles into prison and criminal damage.

Mark Styles, defending, said he was compelled to do it by others as a result of a debt and had been added to visiting lists and “rather stupidly goes along”.

He added: “He’s not the most subtle courier, he draws attention to himself.

“He doesn’t have a criminal background, which is why he was being used and he had no legitimate income.

“He understands he has been a very foolish young man who has been used by others.”

NorthEast chronicle

MPs Publish Damning Indictment Of UK Visa Process For African Visitors

A cross-party group of MPs has published a highly critical report on the Home Office’s treatment of visit visa applicants from Africa. It forms part of an ongoing inquiry into the high level of visa refusals for Africans seeking to visit the UK for professional or business reasons.

The report, published today, has been issued jointly by three All Party Parliamentary Groups: the APPG for Africa; the APPG for Diaspora, Development and Migration; and the APPG for Malawi. I gave evidence to their inquiry back in January 2019 and was asked to review and comment on a draft of the report prior to publication.

The report highlights six specific challenges faced by Africans applying for UK visit visas:

1. Practical and logistical barriers

Regular readers of this blog will be all too familiar with the practical barriers to submitting a visa application — invariably a result of the outsourcing of the visa application process to “commercial partners”.

For those applying from Africa, the application process is even worse than usual. There are just two decision-making centres and 32 Visa Application Centres, or VACs, serving a continent of 1.3 billion people across 57 countries. Submitting an application often means travelling hundreds of miles.

There are 24 African countries with no VAC at all, meaning that in order to submit an application to visit the UK it is necessary to travel to (and obtain a visa for) a neighbouring country.

The issue of delays obtaining visa appointments (an all too familiar problem) is also criticised in the report, along with the Home Office’s unwillingness to provide updates on pending applications. The process is described in the report as “arduous, time-consuming and expensive” and liable to put off many who have legitimate and beneficial reasons for visiting the UK.

2. Inconsistent and/or careless decision-making

The report highlights the inconsistent, and often irrational, application of the “genuine visitor” test. There are examples of divergent decisions being taken in effectively identical cases; different decisions being taken when an identical re-application was made; and insignificant discrepancies in the documentary evidence being used to draw the conclusion that an applicant is not genuine. This reduces trust in the process and increases frustration for applicants.

All of these issues will be familiar to anyone who has submitted a visit visa application recently. As I mentioned on this blog last year, often decision-makers simply don’t believe that the person seeking entry is a genuine visitor, instead assuming that they intend to remain in the UK permanently. Judging a person’s future intention is a delicate balance — but it often seems that the Home Office has its thumb on the scales. Extensive evidence is required in order to demonstrate that there is no intention to remain in the UK beyond the six-month visit period. This is an onerous and often off putting requirement.

3. Perceived lack of procedural fairness

Potential visitors lack clear guidelines on what is required for a successful application. The report laments that cases are often refused due to failure to provide documents or information which are not actually required, describing the system as “opaque and unfair”.

The Immigration Rules and visit visa guidance are freely available online. But caseworkers are given a great deal of latitude to refuse applications on the basis that they are not, for whatever subjective reason first occurs to them, “genuine”. It can be very difficult to predict what documents will be needed to satisfy officials.

The visit visa guidance permits decision-makers to take into account both the political, economic and security situation of the applicant’s country of nationality, and statistical information on immigration non-compliance from those in the same geographical region, when deciding whether an application is “genuine”. As such, your visit visa could be refused simply on account of your nationality. It is no wonder that the system is perceived as unfair.

4. Financial discrimination in decision-making

The Immigration Rules require applicants to have sufficient funds to cover all reasonable costs during their visit. Many applications are rejected because the applicant does not have enough money, even when all costs have been guaranteed by a sponsor. The report highlights that this has, on many occasions, prevented churches, NGOs, charities, development agencies, academic institutions and cultural festivals from bringing people to the UK to take part in specific events. It effectively amounts to discrimination on grounds of income.

The report criticises the assumption those who are not well off are not genuine visitors, noting that “it is deeply problematic to conflate poverty with presumed criminality without a clear evidence base”. The Home Office is sardonically called upon to publish the evidence establishing the causal link between poverty and visa overstays.

5. Perceived gender or racial bias

The broad range of grounds for refusal, which are often applied inconsistently, can give rise to the appearance of discrimination. Some respondents to the inquiry observed that female applicants were asked to provide proof of marriage and children, or of owning property, when male applicants were not.

Questionable and sometime highly offensive reasons for refusals are also highlighted in the report, such as the assumption that an African academic would only visit the UK for training rather than to contribute to a conference.

6. Lack of accountability or a right of appeal

The lack of an affordable and effective mechanism for challenging visit visa refusals has led to a marked decrease in the quality of decisions. As there is little oversight or accountability, decision-makers can essentially do what they want, secure in the knowledge that few have the money or wherewithal to challenge their decision.

The report notes that this undermines the fairness of the system and allows prejudiced or inadequate decisions to pass uncontested and uncorrected. The lack of scrutiny has allowed poor quality decision-making to become institutionally acceptable. Internal mechanisms seem weak and superficial and there is no external quality control.

Recommendations

The report is a damning indictment of the current visit visa system. Although it will contain no surprises for seasoned immigration lawyers, it is useful to have such a detailed examination of the various problems, accompanied by real life examples, in one place. It will also hopefully expose the problems to a wider audience.

The report concludes with a series of recommendations aimed at improving the visa application process for African citizens. They include:

  1. Introducing an expedited application process for those who have to travel to a neighbouring country;
  2. Providing clearer and more detailed information to applicants on visa application processes and requirements, including timescales and supporting documents required;
  3. Ensuring documents are scanned in the country of application, allowing applicants to keep their documents whilst a decision is pending;
  4. Increase the number of countries with VACs;
  5. Strengthen quality control systems for refusal letters before they are issued;
  6. Waive the requirement to demonstrate adequate funds for the visit where there is clear and compelling evidence that a visit is fully funded by a credible UK-based sponsor;
  7. Support greater input from High Commissions and embassies into the decision-making processes as a matter of course;
  8. Reinforce the role of the immigration inspector and monitor the implementation of the inspector’s recommendations, together with a more systematic relationship between the inspector and the relevant Parliamentary Select Committee.

The MPs have stopped short of calling for root and branch reform, or changes that would require primary legislation such as reintroduction of the right of appeal. This is no doubt a sensible approach when so much could be improved through less arduous means. It will hopefully make it more difficult for the Home Office to find an excuse for inaction.

Read the full report on visa problems for African visitors to the UK here: http://www.royalafricansociety.org/analysis/home-office-visa-service-discriminating-against-africans.