Iranian asylum-seeker in age claim puzzle

An orphaned asylum-seeker whose claim to be schoolboy when he arrived in Britain was disbelieved by Newham social workers has failed to convince a judge he is still a child.

The boy, or man, known only as “G” said he was 15 when he �arrived from Iran in April 2008.

He demanded to be given �special consideration, including benefits and schooling.

He gave social workers a “timeline”, including leaving school at nine, when his mother died.

He backed up his claim with a vaccination certificate which gave his birth as 1371 under Iran’s �calendar, or 1993 in the West.

After a detailed “age assessment” was carried out last year taking into account his maturity, �demeanour and other factors, Newham insisted he was not 17, as then claimed, but between 21 and 25, London’s Appeal Court heard.

His age was of critical importance as, if he was a child when he arrived, he would be entitled to a wider range of benefits and services and to have his asylum claim considered under a more generous policy. His barrister, Shu Shin Luh, said he had given a consistent account of his childhood and experts agreed that the vaccination �certificate was genuine.

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But, rejecting his challenge, Lord Justice Sullivan said the Newham assessment was “a pretty thorough exercise” and he was “nowhere near being a child”.

The council’s assessment had to be “very wrong indeed” if he was to win the argument, said the judge, who described that as an “insuperable difficulty” to his case.