A British man has been arrested and threatened with 14 years in jail for "harbouring" his Brazilian fiancee at his home in Kent. Dave Taylor, 48, spent 15 months on bail as he fought to clear his name. But hours before he was due in court, prosecutors dropped all charges -- leaving taxpayers with a bill of at least £50,000.
Today he spoke of his anger at the ordeal he had been put through. Legal experts and race relations chiefs questioned how the case had been allowed to carry on for so long. Critics claimed that the effort put into prosecuting Mr Taylor was disproportionate when the Government estimates there are 430,000 migrants living illegally in Britain.
Mr Taylor -- an entertainer, who uses the stage name Rockin' Dave Taylor -- married Brazilian nurse, Rosyane Costa Ferreira this summer. They had been living together in the UK for more than 6 years. He said he had been left thousand of pounds out of pocket, and had been put on medication for depression as a result of the wrangle. He said: "My professional and home life have been thoroughly disrupted. I have been under severe stress. I have waded through hundreds of pages of jargon presented by the prosecution and spent months going through documents in preparation for the trial. "If my experience reflects the standard of the British justice system, I think it leaves very much to be desired."
Immigration law expert Nicola Appleton of solicitors Lewis Silkin said: "I'm astonished that it got to this stage. It does seem an enormous waste of taxpayers' money."
Lord Ouseley, the former chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality, said the case left him "depressed and despondent about the state of the management and administration in the Home Office's immigration and nationality services". He said: "I am staggered how anyone can penetrate this incompetent bureaucracy."
Police arrested Mr Taylor and ransacked his home near Herne Bay, Kent, in a dawn raid led by Detective Constable John Crawford, in July 2004. They also arrested and deported his fiancee, now wife, Rosyane Costa-Ferreira.
Mr Taylor, who has performed at exotic venues worldwide, including Japan, Hong Kong and Russia, was held 2 days in a police cell. He was told in his initial police interview that he was suspected of masterminding a major people-smuggling operation. Documents seized from his home proved swiftly that the only foreign national he had travelled with was Rosyane Costa-Ferreira, who had regularly accompanied him to gigs on the Continent.
Yet he was charged under the 1971 Immigration Act on two counts of facilitating her illegal entry to the UK and knowingly harbouring her once she was in the country.
Mr Taylor claims that a visa in Miss Costa-Ferreira's passport would have proved that she had permission to be in the UK. But the passport is alleged to have 'gone missing' among documents seized by police. It has never been recovered.
His own lawyers advised him to plead guilty and accept a prison term of around four years, instead of fighting the case and risking a much longer sentence.
This issue has been taken up on behalf of Mr Taylor by Julian Brazier, MP for Canterbury, who says he is appalled that a British subject could be treated in this manner.
Mr Taylor, who has played with such celebrities as Bill Haley and Chuck Berry, insists Rosyane -- now his wife -- was in Britain legally at all times.
His wife, has now been given permission to live in the UK by the same people who prosecuted this case, - namely the Immigration service. The CPS has admitted that the decision to drop the charges, the day before the case was due to be heard in Canterbury Crown Court, was taken on "public interest" grounds.
Mr Taylor's Legal Aid assistance cost taxpayers more than £100,000. The final bill for taxpayers, including CPS costs, could be well in excess of £300,000.
Rockin Dave - Mister Boogie Woogie -Midnight Rock
The recent Prosecution has resulted in an enormous upsurge in Dave’s CD sales with even the prosecution buying many copies!