Son of ‘Windrush victim’ waits for ruling on first round of High Court fight

By Brian Farmer, PA & Matt Gibson

The son of a “Windrush victim” is waiting to see if he has won the first round of his High Court fight with Home Secretary Priti Patel.

Damian Gabrielle, 39, who moved from St Lucia in the Caribbean to Britain at 18 and lives with his partner, Kate Mead, 43, in Catford, South East London, wants to fight the Home Office’s decision to “refuse to regularise” his immigration status.

During an online High Court hearing on Wednesday, he asked a judge to give him the go-ahead to seek a judicial review.

Lawyers representing Ms Patel said Mr Gabrielle’s bid should be blocked.

Mrs Justice Ellenbogen, who is based in London, said she would deliver a ruling on Friday.

Home Secretary Priti Patel (PA)

Lawyers representing Mr Gabrielle said his father, Alexander Prospere, had arrived in the UK after leaving St Lucia aged 19 in 1961.

Barrister Grace Brown, who led Mr Gabrielle’s legal team, told the judge the Government’s Windrush Scheme said a child of a Commonwealth citizen parent who arrived in the UK before the age of 18 could qualify for leave to remain.

Ms Brown told the judge Mr Prospere was a “Windrush victim”, and argued Mr Prospere was unable to support his son’s bid to enter the UK before Mr Gabrielle turned 18 because his status as a British citizen was not confirmed until 2019.

Barrister Edward Brown, representing Ms Patel, argued the Home Office’s decisions had not been unlawful and said Mr Gabrielle’s bid should be blocked.

He said there was nothing to suggest “exceptionality” in Mr Gabrielle’s case.

A spokeswoman for Thompsons Solicitors, which represents Mr Gabrielle, said outside court: “His application for British citizenship, through the Windrush Scheme, failed on the grounds that his father delayed having his son join him until two months after Mr Gabrielle’s 18th birthday, while he sought to ensure he had a home in the UK for him to come to.”

She said that, if Mr Gabrielle’s judicial review bid succeeded, he would take a “significant step forward” in his fight to remain in the UK.

But she added: “If it fails, Mr Gabrielle faces continued struggles to remain in this country and could potentially face immigration removal to St Lucia.”

Lawyer Richard Arthur, who is based at Thompsons, went on: “The Windrush Scheme has been plagued by controversy since its introduction and has done little to right the wrongs of the Windrush generation, whose lives have been turned upside down through no fault on their own.

“Whatever decision is made won’t make up for the unnecessary anguish and stress that our client and his family have faced for decades, but we hope the High Court will grant permission for a judicial review so the family can be one step closer to justice.”

A Home Office spokesman said later: “The Home Secretary and the department remain steadfast in our commitment to members of the Windrush generation.

“We are unable to comment on an ongoing legal case.”

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