Killer migrant is suing Home Office for 'ruining his social life'
In 2017, then aged 15 Lukas Makula, and two other teenage thugs kicked a man to the ground in a vicious, premeditated street robbery in Leicester city centre.
'They hunted him down as group' and 'took evident pride' in what they did, the trial judge said. John Donovan was targeted for a few bottles of beer he had bought from a supermarket to watch a football match at home on TV.
Mr Donovan, 64, a university graduate who had just retired from the local council, where he was a highly respected and popular figure in the housing department, suffered a thrombosis after being taken to hospital, which led to a fatal heart attack.
In her impact statement, his mother, now in her 90s, said her son 'wouldn't hurt a fly' and told how she stayed at his bedside 'until the machines stopped bleeping'.
His killers were originally charged with murder but the prosecution accepted an alternative plea of manslaughter.
Makula served just two years of a five-year sentence before being released in 2020.
Yet this is not simply a story about 'Wild West' Britain or a justice system that too often seems weighted in favour of the guilty.
Increasingly, those who appear in the dock ruthlessly exploit the law, aided and abetted — usually at taxpayers' expense — by human rights and 'loophole' lawyers.
There can be few more shameless examples of such defendants than Lukas Makula.
You might have thought that, after serving such a short stretch over the death of an innocent, defenceless man, he would have counted his blessings and got on with his life.
Instead, Slovakian-born Makula has sought to portray himself as the real victim.
He is suing the Home Office for compensation, it emerged this week.
He claims the electronic ankle tag he had to wear to ensure he observed an 8pm-8am curfew at an address in Leicester after he was freed on licence 'deprived him of his ability to socialise with his peers' — those are the exact words used in his statement of 'facts & grounds' filed at the High Court — which meant he 'spent New Year's Eve alone on one occasion'.
In addition, the monitoring device prevented him from staying with his girlfriend or getting a job.
'I was under an 8pm-8am curfew and living in shared accommodation,' he said. 'No one could visit me and I couldn't go out at night. It wasn't fair. I wanted to work and applied for many jobs.'
He had to turn down one job delivering parcels, for example, because he would have had to work past 8pm. Other positions also involved flexible working hours.
Yet his ankle tag was removed more than 18 months ago and he is still unemployed. 'I'm on sick,' he explained. 'I have back problems. I'm on benefits.'
Makula also said he had mental health problems — a legacy, apparently, of knowing he was 'being continually monitored' when he was wearing the electronic tag.
He was diagnosed with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) by a psychiatrist his legal team hired to examine him in his battle for compensation.
PTSD is commonly associated with soldiers returning from a war zone and people who have been involved in life-changing traumas, such as being involved in a road accident or being the victim of an assault. But perpetrators who have carried out assaults? Not so much.
Yet Makula is seeking damages for false imprisonment — even though the UK was in lockdown or subject to Covid restrictions when he was under curfew — and breaching the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
Behind Makula are several of 'the usual suspects'. He is being represented in his latest claim — it is not the first — by a barrister from Doughty Street Chambers, where Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer was once in practice.
Several barristers from the firm have acted for the charity Asylum Aid in court challenges to stop the Government deporting migrants to Rwanda.
The instructing firm of solicitors is Deighton Pierce Glynn, who specialise in asylum litigation and have made millions over the years from cases funded by the taxpayer through Legal Aid.
Last year, the firm won a High Court declaration that the Home Office's blanket policy of removing mobile phones from migrants arriving in the UK in small boats was illegal.
Makula, who came to the UK as a six-year-old with his mother and seven siblings in 2008, after Slovakia had joined the European Union, was facing deportation himself.
The Home Office argued that, after his conviction, there was still a 'high risk' of him harming others.
Makula received 40 sanctions for violent behaviour while he was in a young offender institution.
He was convicted of causing grievous bodily harm and actual bodily harm for stabbing a psychology teacher on the hand with a pen and putting a hot knife on another staff member's arm, notched up three adjudications for fighting and destroying property, and breached his bail conditions 13 times.
Yet, not for the first time, a tribunal judge took the polar opposite view to that of the Home Office, accepting the assessment of another psychiatrist put up by Makula's legal team that he posed a 'low risk for harming others' and ruling that 'prospects for his complete rehabilitation within the United Kingdom are good'.
More than a quarter of appeals against deportation lodged by foreign national offenders (FNOs) are allowed at first tier tribunals. Between 2008 and 2021, more than 20,000 appeals like Makula's were made — and 6,042 were allowed, of which 40 per cent were on human rights grounds.
Makula was eligible for release on licence on March 19, 2020 but, because the Home Office hoped to deport him, he was kept inside for more than two months longer, which, his lawyers argued, amounted to false imprisonment — the same accusation they have made in the current proceedings over tagging.
He won that first battle.
The payout meant Makula received almost £300 for every extra day he was held, at a time when the country was in full lockdown anyway.