Alasdair Palmer writing for the Telegraph asks if judges are going too far in protecting the rights of convicted foreign criminals, or are they merely upholding the law?
It is not easy to find anyone who thinks it is acceptable that Britain should be unable to deport immigrants who have no right to be here, either because their claim to residence is bogus, or because they have committed, and been sentenced for, very serious crimes.
But the Home Office finds it increasingly difficult to eject foreigners – even when they have been convicted of crimes such as rape and murder.
Politicians are as frustrated about this situation as Home Office officials, and most of the rest of us. But no one seems able to do anything about it, because the source of the trouble is the Human Rights Convention – something which cannot be modified by Parliament, and whose interpretation is determined by rulings given by judges, first in British courts, and then in the “Grand Chamber”, the ultimate appeal court in Strasbourg.
Article 8 of the Convention gives everyone the right to respect for family life. The Courts have gradually extended the scope and meaning of that right, to the point that now it can be used to defeat even clear evidence that an individual’s continued presence in the UK is undesirable.
“There is a huge emphasis on not separating children from their mothers and fathers”, one adjudicator, who works in the tribunal system where appeals are first heard, explained to me.
“Families can be dysfunctional, relations between members can barely exist. Indeed, very often fathers don’t just live separately from the children they claim to have: they have hardly seen those children at all. But if they can prove that they have a child in this country, that can be enough, under the right to family life, to ensure that they cannot be deported.”
Rocky Gurung, an immigrant from Nepal who was convicted of killing an innocent man by throwing him into the River Thames, was allowed to stay in Britain because it would have breached his human rights to separate him from his parents, who live in the UK. Ends.
Source: Daily Telegraph.
What’s your view? Please comment below.
There have been a number of recent high profile immigration appeals and Human Rights cases which have gone against the government in the courts, for instance, Abu Hamza’s British passport appeal and X-Factor contestant Gamu’s mother’s visa refusal, which was overturned on appeal.
Then there was the story of foreign criminals being paid £1500 to return home after serving their sentence.
But should we blame judges for interpreting and upholding the law? In many cases the law being upheld is related to immigration rules and the ruling has nothing to do with the Human Rights Act at all.
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