A High Court Judge has blocked the deportation of a Jamaican man accused of drug trafficking.
O’Neil Williams was ordered to be deported on November 10, 2017, but Immigration officials only sought to execute the order at 8 am on Thursday.
Hours before the scheduled deportation, Williams attorneys Peter Carter and Shanice Ramdhan filed for an emergency injunction.
High Court Judge Eleanor Donaldson-Honeywell held an emergency hearing at the Hall of Justice in Port-of-Spain on Wednesday night and eventually granted the injunction at 11.35 pm. She also granted Williams leave to pursue a lawsuit against the Immigration Division, in which he is alleging that his constitutional rights were breached.
In the injunction application, Williams’ lawyers said that he was awaiting trial for drug trafficking.
On September 22, 2014, Williams pleaded guilty to a separate cocaine trafficking charge and was sentenced to three years in prison.
Williams appealed as he claimed that while he pleaded guilty to the offence, he challenged police claims over his arrest.
In March, Appellate Judges Alice Yorke-Soo Hon and Mark Mohammed upheld his appeal as they ruled that his plea should have been changed based on his allegations.
The Appeal Court did not order a retrial for Williams, as at the time, he had already spent more than his potential sentence detained at the Immigration Detention Centre in Aripo.
Although Donaldson-Honeywell halted Williams’ deportation, she did not order his release.
Williams’ legal challenge over his deportation is expected to come up for a hearing later this year.