June 23, 2014
A record number of foreign criminals began legal action in an attempt to avoid being deported from Britain last year.
More than 2,400 offenders lodged appeals against efforts by Theresa May, the Home Secretary, to have them removed from this country after committing a crime.
Among them were some of the most serious criminals on British soil, including:
• Five foreign offenders convicted of manslaughter, and at least one convicted of murder;
• Fifteen rapists, plus a further 25 sex offenders, including 10 paedophiles;
• 120 violent criminals, the same number as the previous four years combined.
The 2013 total of 2,415 appeals represented a leap of 39 per cent on the figure for 2011, the first full year in which the Coalition was in power, and a 13 per cent rise on the 2012 figure.
Foreign nationals are subject to automatic deportation if they have been jailed for 12 months or more, but can appeal if they believe they should be exempt.
A large proportion of cases are brought on human-rights grounds, when offenders claim they will face mistreatment in their home countries, or under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects the “right to private and family life”.
It comes amid escalating concern over human-rights laws. It emerged last week that Charles Taylor, the former Liberian president who stoked a war in neighbouring Sierra Leone, is using the human-rights legislation in an attempt to be transferred from a British jail to serve his sentence in Africa. He is serving 50 years for war crimes and crimes against humanity after a trial in The Hague in 2012.
The growing number of appeals is bad news for the taxpayer because it will mean even higher costs for legal work and immigration tribunals, as well as extra expenses such as translators.
Earlier this month The Sunday Telegraph revealed how more than 630 foreign criminals have won their cases after lodging claims since 2011. In 410 of those cases, the criminals successfully fought the Government’s attempts to deport them, and in the other 220 cases the Home Office gave up trying after learning that the criminals intended to appeal.