Monday, February 25, 2013

British government's tough immigration rules defied by top judge

The country's most senior immigration judge has openly defied the Home Secretary by insisting that Parliament’s attempt to get tough on human rights abuses by foreign criminals is outweighed by the European Court.

In a key ruling, the head of the immigration courts said measures introduced by Mrs May last summer to stop criminals claiming the “right to family life” were overridden by judges’ previous decisions on such cases at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Mr Justice Blake also said that “little weight” should be given to Mrs May’s immigration rules in cases involving criminals with children because they were overruled by international agreements and a previous law passed by the Labour government.

As reported by The Telegraph last week, Mrs May is due to introduce laws to strengthen existing measures over concerns that judges were not taking them seriously. The measures are supported by The Telegraph’s “End the Human Rights Farce” campaign.

The judge made his criticisms of Mrs May’s laws in a ruling which allowed a criminal with 30 convictions to stay in Britain, even though the Home Office had tried to deport him.

The case was written as a “reported determination”, meaning that other immigration judges will have to follow its example when deciding other similar appeals.

Olufisayo Ogundimu, a former drug dealer from south London, persuaded the court that he should not be removed to Nigeria, where he was born, because he had fathered a child here and has a baby on the way with another woman.

Mr Justice Blake said in his ruling on Ogundimu’s case that the immigration rules “did not affect the circumstance” when considering the right to family life, which is guaranteed by Article Eight of the Human Rights Act.

In such cases he said that the way to interpret Article Eight was not to consider Mrs May’s rules as most important, despite them being passed with cross-party support by Parliament.

Specifically regarding one of Mrs May’s rules which was designed to mean that having a child in Britain would not strengthen a criminal’s case against being deported, the judge said: “Little weight should be attached to this rule when consideration is being given to the assessment of proportionality under Article Eight.”

Instead, he said the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and part of an immigration Act passed by Labour in 2009 took precedence.

Dominic Raab, the Tory MP who has campaigned for tougher rules, said: “This chronic judicial legislation has undermined public protection and usurped the democratic will of Parliament.

“We now have around 200 Article Eight cases a year, so it is vital and urgent that Parliament amends the law to mandate deportation and brush aside these spurious challenges to the rule of law.”

Ogundimu, 28, arrived in the UK 22 years ago. Tracked down by The Telegraph at his girlfriend’s flat in Chislehurst, south-east London, he said that he was pleased at the decision made by the Immigration and Asylum Upper Tribunal.

“It’s totally wrong to send people back like that because their family lives are here,” he said. “If people are a danger to the public and doing serious offences then send them back, but with me, yeah, I’ve got a criminal record but did not do anything serious.”

He came to Britain aged six in 1991 with his family. Ogundimu first appeared in front of the juvenile courts aged 14 for obtaining property by deception.

He has 30 offences on his criminal record, including an eight-month prison term for possession of cannabis with intent to supply, in 2008.

In 2010, the Home Secretary decided that Ogundimu should be sent to Nigeria to protect the public. Ogundimu fathered a son with a British woman in 2004 and the court heard that he looks after the boy occasionally.

It also heard that Ogundimu is now in a relationship with the mother’s cousin, who is expecting his baby, which was conceived after deportation proceedings began.

The Home Office argued that Ogundimu was not in a “genuine and subsisting relationship” with his son or his girlfriend and that his removal would not breach Article Eight.

He was arrested for possession of cannabis in October 2012, for which he received a caution, but now claims he is trying to lead a blameless life.

Ogundimu moved back in with the mother of his child in June 2010 after being in prison. The judge said that he admitted doing so to convince immigration authorities that he had a genuine family life. He left her for his new girlfriend a year later.

After hearing evidence from Ogundimu’s current partner, the court decided that they were in a genuine relationship and the criminal was also playing a beneficial role in the upbringing of a nine-year-old step-daughter.

Mr Justice Blake’s ruling also indicated that the new rules on applying Article Eight should not be imposed retrospectively, even though Mrs May set out that they should.

The immigration rules say a criminal should not be deported if he or she has a British child and “there is no other family member who is able to care for the child in the UK”.

The judge undermined this by saying: “We doubt whether it is in any child’s best interests to lose the contact and support with a caring and devoted parent simply because someone else can be found to care for them.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “The Government has made clear its intention to bring forward primary legislation to prevent foreign nationals remaining in the UK through abuse of the Human Rights Act.”


Revealed: British PM has broken his pre-election promise on foreign criminals as FEWER are deported

Fewer foreign criminals are being deported despite a pledge by David Cameron more than two years ago to ‘intervene personally’.

Since 2010 there has been a spectacular fall in the number sent home after committing serious offences here. In the year of the General Election, 5,342 were deported.

In 2011, in the Coalition’s second year of office, the figure was down 13 per cent to 4,649.

Figures from the first three quarters of 2012 show that 3,382 were deported. If the trend continued in the final quarter, it would mean the 2012 total is around 4,509 – again, down on the previous year, and 16 per cent down on the  election year figure.

Last year the number of  foreign prisoners in our jails went up. The number stood at 10,861 as of June 2012, up from 10,779 the year before.

It is the first time in at least four years that the number of foreign prisoners in our jails has increased.

One in eight inmates are now  foreign nationals – costing almost £500million a year to house.

In September 2010, Mr Cameron pledged he would ‘intervene personally’ to ensure convicted offenders are sent home to spend the rest of their sentences in their own country.
gipsy cheat free to stay.psd

In October last year the Daily Mail revealed that since the promise was made, just 62 prisoners had been returned to their home country to serve the rest of their sentences.

Now the latest figures show that ministers are also failing to deport foreigners after they have served their sentences here.

Labour’s justice spokesman Sadiq Khan, who obtained the figures, said: ‘David Cameron’s promises to send back thousands of foreign prisoners and to take a personal interest in this matter ring hollow.

‘Not only has he failed to send more prisoners home, but the number in our prisons has actually risen.

‘Over half a billion pounds a year is now spent on keeping foreign prisoners in our prisons, and because of Cameron’s failings, money that would be better spent elsewhere in our justice system to keep our communities safe is being wasted.’

Some 2,220 foreign offenders are in jail for violence against the person while 1,287 are sexual offenders.

There are 947 robbers, 517 burglars, 738 thieves and 434 fraudsters. Some 2,110 of the foreign prisoners are there for drug offences while 105 have committed motoring offences.It costs around £45,000 a year to keep an offender in prison.

The figures, released by justice minister Jeremy Wright, show that the second most common nationality of overseas prisoners is now Polish – overtaking the Irish. Jamaicans top the nationality table, with 900 last year, followed by Poland on 750, and Ireland, 737.

Over the past five years, there has been a trebling of the number of Romanian offenders in our jails, even before the EU restrictions on immigration from that country and Bulgaria are lifted at the end of the year.

Romanians are now the fifth most common nationality in our prisons.

David Green, from the think tank Civitas, said: ‘If you have more immigration, it is not surprising that a proportion of them will be offenders.’


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