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Migrant Abdul Haroun allowed to stay in UK after 'walking length of Channel Tunnel'

An African migrant accused of walking almost the entire length of the 31-mile Eurotunnel has been allowed to stay in the UK.

Abdul Haroun, 40, was arrested after allegedly travelling from Calais to Folkestone along a line where trains travel up to 160 kpm.

But this morning a judge heard that the Home Office had granted him refugee status on Christmas Eve.

Eurotunnel terminal at Folkestone
Eurotunnel terminal at Folkestone

Now a decision is to be taken by the Crown Prosecution Service over whether or not to press ahead with the charge under the Malicious Damage Act 1861 of causing an obstruction to a railway engine or carriage – which carries a maximum two year prison sentence.

Lawyers for the Sudanese man applied for bail until a hearing in two weeks and the application was not opposed by Philip Bennetts QC for the CPS.

Haroun, dressed in a grey tracksuit, remained impassive as he appeared at Canterbury Crown Court via a CCTV link to Elmley Prison, where he has been held since his arrest.

The proceedings were translated to him through an interpreter but he showed no reaction to the news he was being granted bail.

The case was heard at Canterbury Crown Court
The case was heard at Canterbury Crown Court

A worker for the Kent Refugee Help charity is expected to collect him from Elmley today and he will remain at a safe house until the next appearance on January 18.

Judge Adele Williams told him his only condition was he report at his local police station once a week.

Mr Bennetts told the court that the CPS needed the adjournment to decision whether “in light of the defendant being granted asylum status” to proceed with a trial.

Haroun’s barrister Kate Thorne told the judge that if the trial goes ahead there are plans to raise the issue of an abuse of the legal process.

But the judge said until a decision was made she wouldn’t set a date for any possible trial or legal argument.

Haroun was arrested in August near the south running tunnel – the first incident of its kind. Two more people are facing similar charges.

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