Inside an Irish prison cell. Nicky Ryan/
Yuntao Yu

Chinese takeaway owner released from prison after challenging State detention

Yuntao Yu’s had never sought to evade the authorities, setting up his eatery beside Letterkenny Garda Station.

A CHINESE TAKEAWAY owner who challenged the legality of his detention has been released from Castlerea Prison.

The challenge was brought by Yuntao Yu who had been incarcerated at the Co Roscommon prison since 25 March last on foot of a deportation order issued in 2009.

On Tuesday the High Court granted Yu’s lawyers an inquiry into the lawfulness of his detention under Article 40.4.2 of the Irish Constitution.

When the matter returned before Justice Robert Haughton yesterday, barrister Gavin Keogh Bl, appearing with solicitor Donal Quigley for Yu, said the arguments advanced on his client’s behalf had been conceded by the State and the case could be struck out.

Barrister Anthony Moore Bl for the State confirmed to the court that Yu, who is a Chinese national, had been released from the prison on Tuesday night.

Yu was not present in court for the brief hearing.

Yu, who has lived and worked openly in Ireland for the past 16 years, claimed his detention was unlawful on grounds including that there was no realistic prospect he would be removed from the State within the requisite time-frame.

Yu, who has been based in Letterkenny, Co Donegal for several years, argued it is unlawful for persons subject to deportation orders to spend any more than 56 days in detention.

Yu, aged 36, had in 2011 spent 44 days in prison on foot of the same 2009 deportation order.

In addition, he did not have any travel documents such as a passport which he needed to have before any deportation order could be effected.

As there was no possibility of Yu being removed from the State within the required 56 days, his lawyers argued that his continued detention was unlawful, and he should be released.

It was also argued his detention was unnecessary and entirely disproportionate and that his personal circumstances have changed considerably since the deportation order was made.

His lawyers said it would be unjust to enforce the deportation order in light of these facts, and Yu will seek to have the deportation order revoked.

Yu lives in Letterkenny with his wife and family and never sought to evade the authorities.

Since 2015, the court heard, that Yu has run a take away food business located beside Letterkenny Garda Station.

Aodhan O Faolain
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