Author: Flossie Mainwaring-Taylor
THE agonising wait of a County Durham-based asylum seeker facing deportation continues as an adjournment in the case causes further delays.
An adjournment was granted at North Shields County Court in the case of ‘Stephen’, who at the age of ten was trafficked from Vietnam to the UK and forced to work on a cannabis farm before being rescued by police.
The hearing came as an open letter, hosted by 38 Degrees and signed by MPs, religious leaders and 80,000 members of public, was handed to the Home Office calling on Home Secretary Amber Rudd to intervene.
His application for asylum, on the grounds he no longer has any ties to Vietnam and would face religious persecution, was refused last year.
Judge Holmes was on Tuesday told the Home Office served new material on Thursday and Stephen’s solicitors had not had enough time to respond.
No date was set for a final hearing but it is expected to take place in mid-May or July, to allow for the trafficking and modern slavery victim, aged 20, to prepare for and undertake exams.
Shildon vicar Rev David Tomlinson, who has fostered Stephen with his family, said: “Stephen doesn’t really understand and is disappointed that three years down the line we’re still in a situation where we don’t have an answer.”
He added: “The adjournment is for his benefit and is about strengthening his case and responding to the documents filed late.”