Mohammed Hassan died as a result of clandestine travel from Dunkirk on the Dover ferry in April 2016. He was crushed under the lorry he travelled on when it stopped in Oxford. As a known unaccompanied minor he had been detained 4 days earlier by the UK Border Force who discharge UK immigration powers on French territory. He had been found concealed in a lorry with 5 other adults. Documents that were only produced as a result of an order made by the coroner showed that Mohammed’s detention in Dunkirk was not authorised in accordance with operating procedures.
The Coroner will report on the practice of UK immigration officers not to ask unaccompanied minors who arrive in the UK control zone whether they wish to claim asylum. He expressed concern that the reason why the question is not asked is that it would then trigger duties to assist the asylum process. If the child was found in the UK he would be asked that question. The Coroner will also suggest that a leaflet be produced in foreign language translation that informs minors as to how they can procure both legal advice and French social services’ support.
Danny Friedman QC and Kate Beattie of Doughty Street Chambers acted for Mohammed’s family. They were instructed by Jane Ryan of Bhatt Murphy solicitors.