The Telegraph reports that a violent foreign drug dealer who avoided deportation because of his “right to family life” went on to reoffend – and to win a second legal battle to stay in Britain.
Gary Ellis, 23, could have been sent home to Jamaica after his first jail term for drug offences, but he persuaded judges that he was a reformed character whose family ties meant he was entitled to remain in the UK.
At the end of his second drugs sentence this year, he again successfully avoided deportation. On both occasions he used Article 8 of the Human Rights Act to claim that he was entitled to a family life with his girlfriend and daughter, now aged five.
Yet it can be revealed that he split up with the woman in 2007 and since then has had almost no contact with her or the child.
Selese Whiley, 23, the mother of Kyra, told this newspaper that she had refused to give evidence on Ellis’s behalf during his most recent appeal this year. Her account contradicts vital elements of her ex-boyfriend’s evidence to the court.
She said: “He called me to ask me to go to court and say that he was a good father and we were still together. But I told him I wasn’t willing to lie for him.
“Kyra doesn’t have a relationship with him. He’s always been in and out of jail. I don’t understand how the government have let him stay.”
MPs said the case showed the immigration courts were failing in their basic duty to ensure that criminals are telling the truth when they challenge deportation decisions.
Dominic Raab, the Tory MP who is campaigning to reform Article 8, said: “This is a damning indictment of the system.
“Not only has another serious criminal defied deportation on spurious human rights grounds. On top of that, this case lays bare the institutional failings inherited from the last government.
“Lawyers milking the system, immigration officials failing to test his family links and judges overturning the public interest in deporting a convicted drug dealer and robber on the flimsiest of evidence.
“The case for fundamental reform is now overwhelming.”
David Davis, the former shadow home secretary, said: “Clearly there has been a systematic failure. We need to challenge every case fiercely on the facts, which has not happened here.”
Ellis, also known as “Steve”, has a profile on Facebook, the social networking website, which includes photographs of him in gangster-style poses and pictures of himself taken on a prison landing.
He came to Britain from Jamaica in 2001, at the age of 14, on a visitor’s visa.
In 2004 he was jailed for a year for robbery and two offences of attempted robbery, but at that time the offences were not serious enough to have led to deportation measures.
Released back into the community at the end of his term, he was soon in trouble with the law once more.
In April 2007, he was imprisoned for 30 months for supplying Class A drugs. At the end of this sentence the Home Office tried to deport him.
But Ellis brought his first Article 8 appeal and a panel led by Immigration Judge Kamini Roopnarine-Davies ruled in 2008 that he should be allowed to remain in Britain on the strength of his family life here – even though by that time the couple had separated, according to Miss Whiley.
Eighteen months after being allowed to stay, Ellis was convicted in Sept 2009 of “posession with intent to supply Class A drugs”. He was handed another 30-month sentence.
Following this second drugs sentence, the Home Office made a fresh attempt to deport him.
However, Immigration Judge Ifeyinwa Munonyedi and Andrew Richardson, a magistrate, found Ellis had “established family life with his partner, Miss Whiley, and their daughter”, with whom he had been living as a family unit since 2004 or 2005, and that he was a “fully integrated member of British society”.
They also found that “Kyra’s well-being was best promoted by allowing her to grow up in her own country, having a normal father-and-daughter relationship with her father”, according to court papers.
The judges reached their conclusions in the absence of any testimony from Miss Whiley. The Home Office appealed against the decision, but Senior Immigration Judge Davin Gill rejected its case.
Miss Whiley said the true details of Ellis’ contact with her and her daughter were very different from those presented to the court.
“We were only together for about a year and a half. We broke up in mid 2007 when he was in jail,” said Miss Whiley, from Tottenham, north London.
“Since then we’ve only really had contact over the ‘phone.
“He hasn’t been a good father because he has always been in jail. He wouldn’t be welcome in my home.
“I don’t understand how the government have let him stay. I think it’s an outrage. He’s been in jail three times now and he just keeps reoffending so I don’t understand why they can’t get rid of him.”
The truth, according to Miss Whiley, is that since the couple separated in 2007, Ellis has had virtually no contact with her and makes no financial contributions to Kyra’s upbringing.
She added: “I think he’s only ever bought her one birthday present – and he was in prison at the time so he had to get his friend to buy it for her.
“Even when I’ve asked him for money for Kyra he’s said no because he thought I would spend it on myself.
“But he always makes a point of flashing his cash so that I can see how much money he’s got – even though he won’t give me any of it for Kyra.
“He does call me and ask to see her when he’s out of prison, but he’s been inside for most of her life so he never really sees her.
“He last saw Kyra about a month ago when he took her out for a meal after her birthday. They get on well but I feel sorry for her because he’s just never around.”
Another crucial part of Ellis’ evidence to the immigration judges was that he owed a drug dealer £2,000 and had been intimidated into committing another crime because of the debt.
In her ruling in the most recent appeal, Senior Immigration Judge Gill said the lower court found that Ellis had been “put under considerable pressure to co-operate with a drug dealer”.
“He gave evidence of threats having been made to Miss Whiley and her mother, and that, although he kept reporting the matter to his probation officer and asking for help, none was forthcoming,” Judge Gill said.
But Miss Whiley said that she had never received any threats.
“I certainly never got any and neither did Kyra. It certainly wouldn’t surprise me if he had made it up,” she said.
Miss Whiley said: “I think it’s really out of order that he’s used us as a reason to avoid deportation. He’s been a bad father to Kyra and we haven’t been together for four years.
“I just feel bad for Kyra because she hasn’t had her dad around. I feel bad for him too because he’s messing up the chance to be a father to her.”
She said Ellis – who also calls himself “Steve Da Trapper” and “Trapstar Ellis” – had been worried about being deported.
“But now he knows that’s not going to happen. He’s got a new girlfriend now who is pregnant so that makes it even more unlikely that he’ll be deported,” she said.
“He thinks he’s invincible.
“He’s not a good person. He’s always been in and out of trouble – even when we went to secondary school together – but I hoped that when we had a daughter together he would mend his ways.
“But unfortunately he never did. He’s never really gone out to look for a job but that was probably because he felt that dealing drugs was easy money.
“He’s got a way of wrapping you round his little finger. He’s a charmer. He always seems to find a way to get what he wants.
“Personally I don’t think he’ll ever mend his ways. He’s been given countless opportunities but hasn’t taken them.”
When contacted by reporters Ellis said: “I did not lie to any court. I did not lie to anyone about anything.
“I’ve got no reason to talk to you and I don’t want my name in any papers.”
Sir Andrew Green, of MigrationWatch, said: “This is another ludicrous case to try the patience of the public.
“The courts should not accept claims to family life without closely examining the evidence.
“It is very surprising that this claimant’s story was accepted at face value and it makes one wonder how many other similar cases there have been.”
A Home Office spokesman said: “We rigorously defended our decision to deport this individual and we made it clear that he’d failed to provide supporting evidence to show existing family life.
“It’s unacceptable that the Human Rights Act is being used to prevent removal of foreign criminals and immigration offenders.
“This is why we will change the immigration rules to prevent those abuses and ensure a better balance with human rights and the wider public interest.”
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