British national gets best Christmas gift, goes back to jail

Updated: 25 December, 2019 07:10 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon | Mumbai

Stranded Isle of Man resident Stuart Quillian will not have to sleep rough, as sessions judge sends him back to the comfy confines of Arthur Road prison

Stuart Quillian in the liaison room after the court agreed to send him to judicial custody
Stuart Quillian in the liaison room after the court agreed to send him to judicial custody

In a rarest of rare case, an additional sessions judge at the Dindoshi Court accepted British national Stuart Quillian's plea to be sent back to judicial custody on Tuesday, eliciting a relieved 'thank you' from the 46-year-old. mid-day had highlighted Stuart's efforts to go back to Arthur Road jail after he was released on bail seven months ago and forced into a life of destitution.

Hailing from Douglas, Isle of Man in the British Isles, Stuart was present in courtroom number 15 of the Sessions Court in Dindoshi, pleading through his state-appointed counsel Dhananjay Singh.

Accused of human trafficking in 2017, Stuart had been jailed in March of that year and released in May this year. Since then, he had been living a destitute life on Mumbai's streets. He was not able to rent a house or get a hotel room due as his passport has been seized as evidence and his visa expired while he was in jail.

Nor was he getting proper meals or medicines for depression and anxiety. He would keep in touch with his mother and four sisters back in Europe through WhatsApp by accessing free WiFi hotspots in the city, and survive on whatever little money they could send him. As such, going back to the shelter of jail became his best option.

Senior lawyer Dinesh Tiwari, who is also representing Stuart, said, "It is a matter of choice for an accused on bail. If he desires to surrender his bail, as per the CrPC (Code of Criminal Procedure), such a person can be sent back to jail. Even the court cannot refuse such a request." Stuart's surrendered his surety of Rs 50,000. It can be used again if he wishes to be released on bail.

Stuart Quillian with his mother Barbara Byron (centre) and four sisters in Douglas. PIC COURTESY: BARABARA BYRON
Stuart Quillian with his mother Barbara Byron (centre) and four sisters in Douglas. Pic courtesy: Barabara Byron

"Stuart was taken back into judicial custody soon after the court accepted his plea. The court was convinced about Stuart's concerns. He will be secure and safe in jail," said Singh. Tiwari explained that this is a rare instance of an accused on bail being sent back to jail as per his desire. "He will be entitled to food, stay, and even free medical care, which he was deprived of outside. Moreover, officials from the British High Commission will visit him every month and pay him Rs 2,500 for the canteen facility," he said.

As per a Bombay High Court directive, trials in cases of human trafficking have to be completed in six months. If convicted, Stuart's punishment will be adjusted with the time already served. Jail authorities will assign him a barrack keeping his security and other aspects in mind.

Mar 2017
Month Stuart was jailed

May 2019
Month Stuart was released

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First Published: 25 December, 2019 07:00 IST

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