There is a powerful public interest in the deportation of foreign criminals, but what about the human rights of those they leave behind? The Court of Appeal addressed that issue in ruling that the interests of a foreign drug dealer’s British partner and two British children demanded that he be permitted to remain in this country.
The Nigerian national, aged 32, was brought to the UK by his mother at the age of 11. During most of the intervening period, he had no right to be in this country. However, he had two children by British mothers: a daughter aged 14 and a son aged six. The son was born whilst he was serving a four-and-a-half-year prison sentence after being found guilty of an offence of conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine.
The Home Secretary made a deportation order against him after his release from prison. However, he successfully challenged that order before the First-tier Tribunal (FTT), which found that his deportation would have an unduly harsh impact on his partner and children and would disproportionately interfere with their fundamental human right to respect for their family lives.
The FTT noted, amongst other things, that his daughter was at a key stage of her development and had been badly affected by his absence in prison. He was the primary carer for his son, who had learning difficulties, and his deportation would adversely affect the ability of his partner, a nurse, to work full time. It was also likely to harm the close relationship between his children, and the FTT found that he was most unlikely to re-offend. Its decision was, however, subsequently reversed by the Upper Tribunal (UT), which upheld the deportation order.
In allowing his appeal against that outcome, the Court could detect no perversity or other error of law in the FTT’s conclusion that there were compelling factors that outweighed the public interest in his deportation. It appeared to be a case in which the UT had interfered impermissibly, merely on grounds that its members would themselves have reached a different conclusion from the FTT. The FTT’s decision was restored and the deportation order quashed.
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