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Waiting on word

davidcomissiongoncampustrenCuba-born ex-drug convict, Raul Garcia, who has been in detention for nearly three years now, is still awaiting word from the High Court on whether he would be freed.

When Supreme Court Judge Margaret Reifer adjourned Garcia’s case just before Christmas, she had promised to announce her ruling as early as possible after the tribunal resumed in the new year.

This afternoon Garcia’s lead attorney, David Comissiong, told Barbados TODAY that all he could say officially was that “we are waiting and that the judge is on sick leave”.

In their closing arguments, Comissiong and the state attorney Donna Brathwaite made strong contrasting submissions on behalf of their clients.

Comissiong’s case is that Garcia’s continued detention by immigration authorities was unlawful and a breach of his constitutional rights and personal liberty, especially considering he had already served his prison term for the drug offence.

He had also asked the court to rule that his client be released because legal precedence favoured such freedom, in that the deportation order signed by the minister responsible for immigration on March 24, 2010, could not be executed within a “reasonable period”.

However, Brathwaite urged the court to reject Comissiong’s requests and to keep Garcia in detention because he posed a threat to national security. She also reasoned that the deportation order had not been cancelled by the minister and was therefore still valid.

The attorney also referred as well to Section 21, Sub-section 3 of the Immigration Act, which held that the deportation order did not become invalid with the lapse of time and remained valid, unless cancelled by the minister. (EJ)†††††

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