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'Psychotic' Afghan Asylum Seeker Embroiled in Foster Child Controversy

Posted Feb 05 2011 11:10am

When the Afghan refugee known only as "C.J." was found by British customs officers at the Port of Dover in 2008, he told them that he was only fifteen.  He told officials a thrilling tale of escaping from Afghanistan and spending eight months traveling overland, including hiding under a lorry in Calais, France.  He entered the United Kingdom when a kindly stranger gave him a train ticket to London.  Despite inconsistencies in his story and questions about his true age, CJ was "dispersed" to Cardiff, Wales and placed with a Welsh foster family which included young children. 

In a case presented to London's High Court, testimony about C.J.'s time with the foster family included reports of his extremely violent behaviour.  On one occasion, he was forcibly removed from the home by three officers and needed to be controlled with leg irons and handcuffs (he assaulted one of the officers).  After being taken to the Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit at Whitchurch Hospital, C.J. was diagnosed as being "floridly psychotic" including delusions of grandeur.  Even in the first week that he was in the foster family's care, he reportedly threatened to take the family's youngest daughter to Iran. 

Despite documents which C.J. had brought with him from Afghanistan, medical authorities and foster family members feel that he appears much older than his claimed age and is actually in his early twenties.  The legal case surrounding C.J. has been complicated by the question of whether he is in fact an adult.  The Cardiff City Council  has spent thousands of  pounds gathering expert evidence to prove his adult status.   While C.J. is adamant that he was born in 1993, the judge presiding over the case, Justice Duncan Ouseley, is openly skeptical about the birth documents that have been presented.  He has further stated that "he could be between 18 and 22, but I found just 17 impossible to accept and untruthfully alleged".   Following the three-day hearing, the judge concluded that C.J. is over 20 years of age. 

The case is still ongoing.

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