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The Petition of Giovanni Di Stefano

Volume 659: debated on Monday 29 April 2019

The petition of Giovanni Di Stefano,

Declares that the petitioner is currently held in custody at HMP Highpoint, Stradishall, Suffolk, CB8 9YG and is a national of the Republic of Italy and born on the 1 day of July 1955 in Petrella Tifernina, Campobaso, 86024 Italy. The petitioner is serving a sentence imposed by Southwark Crown Court of 14 years by HHJ McCreath on 27 March 2013. The petitioner is a foreign national prisoner subject to deportation the order of which was served on 27 June 2013. Parliament enacted the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 specifically with S. 34(5) amending the Criminal Justice Act 2003 by inserting S.259A. The purpose Parliament enacted this Act and section was to permit foreign national prisoners and others who had served half the requisite custodial period of any sentence to be removed from this jurisdiction provided that those could satisfy the Secretary of State for Justice that they had “settled intentions” of not returning by residing in the country to which they are removed. Section 259A of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 would come into force on such a day as the Secretary of State may by Order appoint. It is now 11 years since the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 has been enacted. The Secretary of State for Justice has yet to commence this section of sovereign statute that Parliament enacted.

The petitioner thus humbly requests that the House of Commons does press the Secretary of State for Justice to forthwith commence this section which would immediately ease the burden on a much overcrowded prison estate allowing the Home Office to remove all those immediately who gave their settled intention to reside outside this jurisdiction and those who could satisfy the Statute. There is no valid reason why after 11 years the Secretary of State has not commenced this section.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Sir Roger Gale , Official Report, 13 March 2019; Vol. 656, c. 7P .]

[P002439]

Observations from the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Rory Stewart):

The Government have the following observations to make:

Section 259A was inserted to the Criminal Justice Act 2003 by Section 34(2) of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008. It was a scheme designed as an extension to the Early Removal Scheme (ERS) for Foreign National Prisoners and would have allowed British nationals, EEA nationals and Irish nationals, who were not subject to a deportation or removal from the UK, and who demonstrated a settled intention to reside permanently outside the UK to be removed from prison up to nine months before they would otherwise be automatically released. It was known as the Early Removal Scheme for Resettlement (ERSR).

The Section 259A provisions were never commenced and were removed from the statute books by Section 118(4)(b) of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 which repealed Section 34(2) of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008.

As such, there are no longer any provisions relating to the ERSR for the Secretary of State for Justice to commence.