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Serial criminal to be deported despite impact on his children


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If you attempt to murder someone with a gun, and after release from prison for attempted murder (a sentence of over four years), are caught again with a loaded gun and imprisoned, do not be surprised that only the most exceptional circumstances will save you from deportation. This was all in the context of running a drug-dealing ‘business’.

The main point in the Home Office appeal in Secretary of State for the Home Department v CT (Vietnam) [2016] EWCA Civ 488 concerns the Article 8 argument which was rejected. Lady Justice Rafferty stated that the effect on the children of having only one parent subsequently remaining in the UK was not enough to pass the high threshold of exceptionality which applies to cases involving sentences of over four years’ imprisonment. The primary consideration due to the children was distinguished from that consideration being sole or paramount (paragraph 19). The effect on the children of having their father deported, living with only their mother, was not enough to tip the balance in the Respondent’s favour. The effect on the children, implied Lady Justice Rafferty, would itself have to be exceptional to justify non-deportation:

  1. Nor was there evidence of a striking condition in either (I ignore the stepchildren by virtue of their age) which his presence in the UK would dispositively resolve. He is said to have “a particular tie” with the Respondent. The son was said to have spoken less confidently when his father was in prison and to have returned to confidence upon his release. That is not exceptional.

On a side note, the judge rightly points out that it does not assist the Respondent that only those in the Vietnamese community were the potential targets, rather than the wider public. Rather, individual communities deserve just as much protection as everyone else.

  1. I agree with the SSHD that the Vietnamese community in the UK is as entitled to protection from crime as much as is the wider public. That only one section of the community was in view as including potential victims is at its highest for the Respondent neutral.

In accordance with this approach, it is high time that the systems of immigration, deportation, human trafficking and tackling organised crime be properly joined up to find a solution to the criminal gangs which exploit Vietnamese children, leaving immigration and criminal lawyers to deal with some of the most unfortunate cases.

Source: The Secretary of State for the Home Department v CT (Vietnam) [2016] EWCA Civ 488 (25 May 2016)

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Paul Erdunast

Paul Erdunast is a barrister at Temple Garden Chambers in London (https://tgchambers.com/member-profile/paul-erdunast/). Prior to this he was Legal and Parliamentary Officer at ILPA, where he delivered immigration law training and spoke at conferences. In previous jobs he lectured on asylum law and provided EU migrants with immigration advice.