The rapper was held at London’s City Airport after being refused entry to the U.K. because of “unresolved convictions” in the U.S.
Busta Rhymes – real name Trevor George Smith Jr. – was in England to take part in a Sept. 26 charity gig for the Orange RockCorps volunteering initiative.
More than 5,000 young people have given hours of their time to charitable causes to win exclusive tickets to the show at London’s Royal Albert Hall, although at press time it still wasn’t clear if Rhymes would appear.
A High Court judicial review was scheduled for 2 p.m. on the day of the show, which was to determine the legality of the original decision to refuse entry.
It’s also possible the U.K.’s Home Office may try to find different grounds for refusing entry.
While Rhymes was being held and interrogated at the airport, lawyers were wrangling over the legality of his detention.
The decision to refuse entry centers on a New York court case in March, when he was given three years’ probation, ordered to do 10 days of community service and fined $1,250 for assaulting his former chauffeur and one of his fans.
Amanda Weston, Rhymes’ lawyer, argued that the basis on which her client had been refused entry was incorrect.
She said that his assault offense – and another for drunken driving – are misdemeanors under New York criminal law.
His legal team also said their client had never been jailed and had completed the community service for his convictions
Justice Flaux concluded that there was a sufficiently arguable case that the refusal to permit entry was unlawful, therefore making the decision to detain unlawful.
He said all the circumstances indicate Rhymes was entitled to be released forthwith or released on bail.
In the event of him not being able to appear, Ludacris – another U.S. rapper and a friend of Rhymes – has been drafted in as a replacement for the London gig.
The lineup also includes The Automatic, Guillemots, Lethal Bizzle, Feeder, and John Legend.