Two Decades underground and twenty years of street fashion.
A young man whose compound had been attacked and family members abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army fled to Kampala where he entered service as a houseboy and where he was maltreated. In 1999 distant relatives in the United Kingdom invited him to England to stay and where he remained becoming incorporated into the life of the family, developing friendships but otherwise, without integration into daily life. Absent permission to stay, our client could not open a bank account, pay for a utility, find lawful employment, or enrol with a GP.
After twenty years we submitted an application on his behalf to the Home Office on account of his long residence. We submitted:-
• The original Ugandan passport on which he came to the United Kingdom.
• His most recent Ugandan passport.
• A letter from the Ugandan authorities confirming that no other passport had been issued to our client.
• Nine witness statements from our client’s family, his social group and the social group of family members of the family. Each detailing the frequency and nature of their interactions with our client over the past twenty years.
• A series of photographs with our client and the witnesses over the past twenty years.
This should have been sufficient. Uganda stamps the entry and exit of its own nationals, so any return to Uganda would be shown in the passport and any re entry back to the United Kingdom would be reflected in the UK admission stamp.
Notwithstanding the Home Office wrote requesting: bank accounts, utility bills , proof of employment etc. When in response we advised the Home Office that our client could not provide such materials because the law forbade access to such accounts, the Home Office refused because our client did not furnish a paper trail of presence.
On appeal we adduced the following additional evidence: -
We instructed Dr Vicki Markham of the Manchester Fashion Institute and an authority on High Street Fashion to examine the photographs over the past two decades.
The most identifiable aspect of the styles worn, was the incorporation of wearable technology into every day street fashion. Their presence or absence placed the photographs within a parameter of years rendering later attribution anachronistic, particularly in street scenes, whose staging would have been of inordinate cost. A comparison of the older street scenes was made against photographs taken of the same streets around the time of appeal.
The photographs also showed our client with the children of the household as they grew up and married.
The Judge considered that the nine different witnesses from separate walks of life were telling the truth and the appeal was allowed.