James Dixon of No5 Barristers’ Chambers was instructed by Irwin Mitchell Solicitors in the case of an immigration detainee who died on the day he was set for release from a privately-run jail in Liverpool.
At the conclusion of the inquest, in which the jury recorded a narrative verdict of suicide, Senior Coroner Andre Rebello called on the Home Office and Ministry of Justice to address matters of concern raised during the inquest.
Polish-national Michal Netyks, 35, had been serving a sentence at the G4S run prison. He was found dead on 7th December last year and was the 11th immigration detainee to die nationally in 2017.
On the day of his death, Michal was originally set for release from prison, however hours before he took his own life he had received paperwork from the Home Office that said he would remain in custody at HMP Altcourse pending possible deportation to Poland.
The eight-day inquest at Liverpool and Wirral Coroners Court heard that Michal died from a head injury after jumping from the first-floor.
At the end of the hearing Mr Rebello issued a report to prevent future deaths, calling on the Home Office and Ministry of Justice to address matters of concern raised during the inquest. The concerns outlined by the Coroner included that:
- Foreign nationals who are liable for deportation have no access to free legal advice, for example through duty lawyer schemes if they are not detained in an immigration detention centre
- The evidence indicated that Michal was working and had a family life in Wales before his sentence, and it appeared unfair that he was required to provide evidence of this whilst in prison when the Home Office could easily have checked with HMRC or Michal’s employer
- During the inquest, the Home Office disclosed partially redacted notes which indicated that records had been deleted by senior management, with the Coroner finding this “needs investigation and an explanation as its effect is to manipulate statistics – it appears to be almost a denial of the facts.
- Prison officers required to serve papers related to deportation “would be more effective if they were provided with a training package, making them aware of the deportation process” by the Home Office.