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Judge raps immigrant unit 'forgery'

A High Court judge has suggested that officials at an immigration removal centre falsified a document - and he has asked prosecutors to consider forgery charges.

Mr Justice Mostyn said some officials at Brook House immigration removal centre - at Gatwick Airport - had "behaved disgracefully".

His criticism came in a written ruling after a failed asylum seeker took legal action against Home Secretary Theresa May.

Details emerged at a High Court judicial review hearing in London nearly two weeks ago.

Mr Justice Mostyn said the asylum seeker was removed from his room at Brook House in October 2010 and flown out of the country.

He said a room clearance team was sent in after the man left a nd a room clearance certificate had been "corruptly redacted" in order to "eradicate" a reference to various paperwork being "packed up".

Mr Justice Mostyn said some officials at Brook House had behaved disgracefully.

"The conduct of the Secretary of State's agents in falsifying the room clearance certificate is corrupt and truly shocking," said the judge.

"When agents of the state falsify documents it undermines, if not fatally, then certainly very seriously, the trust of the people in the operation of the rule of law.

"It makes no difference if, as here, the agents are private contractors to whom the Secretary of State has outsourced her powers. Corruption by state officials is insidious and corrosive and it is the duty of the authorities where it is found to root it out ruthlessly."

He went on: "In this case I am satisfied that there is prima facie evidence of the offence of forgery and I direct that a copy of this judgment be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions along with the relevant documents."

The judge dismissed the asylum seeker's claim for damages and said he lacked credibility. He said the man had claimed that Mrs May had put him at risk of being tortured when she deported him.

And he added: "My finding as to the turpitude of the agents of the Secretary of State does not affect at all my overall findings as to the lack of credibility of the claimant."

A Home Office spokeswoman said later: "We are concerned with the reports of staff misconduct. Although our staff were not directly involved we expect our contractors to maintain the highest standards of integrity and professionalism. Any allegations of wrongdoing must be thoroughly investigated and dealt with accordingly."

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