Footballers wins ‘right to family life’ case as government split over Human Rights row

1st June, 2015

A foreign criminal convicted of child cruelty and drink-driving with his four-year-old daughter in the car has overturned a Home Office bid to deport him – because of his “right to family life”.

The case hinged on the offender’s relationship with his child, even though she was the victim of his crimes.

Last week’s Queen’s Speech revealed the Government will not seek to reform human rights laws in the first session of the new Parliament, leading to allegations that delays will lead to further abuses by foreign criminals.

This is despite serious objections from two of the Government’s senior colleagues, Michael Gove and Theresa May, saying too many lawyers have been invoking article 8 of the human rights convention, which guarantees the “right to family life”.

In the latest case, the man, who was granted anonymity by immigration judges and can only be identified by the initials “VADSM”, is a former professional footballer, and was born in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa.

The Home Office argued it was “irrational” for VADSM to claim he should be allowed to remain in Britain because of his relationship with the child, known only as “M”.

But judges over-ruled an order by Theresa May, the Home Secretary, to deport the footballer and he is now free to stay in Britain indefinitely.

Court papers seen by The Telegraph said VADSM had another child, “AMM”, with a woman in Portugal, who was born in September 2004.

But he left the country in 2004 to seek work in Britain, “depriving AMM of a father figure”.

VADSM was convicted in August 2013 of driving when he was three times over the limit.

He was also convicted of “causing or procuring an act of cruelty to a child” because M – then aged four – was discovered to be “frightened” and “freezing cold” when the car was pulled over.

He was jailed for a total of two years, with Judge Wynn-Morgan, the trial judge, describing the offences as “quite appalling”.

Foreign criminals who are handed a sentence of 12 months or more are liable for automatic deportation, although the court heard it was disputed whether this requirement applied to VADSM because none of his charges carried a single sentence of that length.

In May last year the Home Secretary notified VADSM that he was liable to be deported.

He brought an appeal to the lower immigration tribunal.

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