In a case reminiscent of others recently in the news, Jonathan Metzer was successful in an appeal on behalf of a national of Barbados who was set to be deported by the Home Office for historic criminal offending.
The appellant, a 46-year old man who had been in the UK since 1993, was convicted to 3 and a half years’ imprisonment in 2004 for numerous counts of supplying a Class A drug (cocaine). The following year, the Home Office sent him a letter stating its intention to deport him. He was placed on immigration bail conditions which he complied with in full, but no further action was taken. However, many years later in October 2016 the appellant was dismissed by his employers after the Home Office had informed them that he did not have the right to work. The appellant contacted the Home Office seeking an explanation and received a letter stating that he was to be deported. In the intervening years during which he had lived an ordinary life in the UK the appellant had married a British citizen and had two children who were born in 2005 and 2009.
The threshold test for when it will be disproportionate to deport a person who has been convicted of criminal offences is well-established to be a very high one, with the appellant having to show that there would be “unduly harsh” consequences for his family both to relocate with him and to remain in the UK without him.
Medical evidence was provided which explained was that the appellant’s second child had significant health problems impacting on his daily life, including Oral Allergy Syndrome and severe asthma. He also suffered from significant anxiety and was awaiting assessment for possible autistic spectrum disorder. His GP stated that he would not be able to live safely without access to necessary treatment.
The Judge held that in these circumstances it would be unduly harsh for him to remain in the UK without his father, as “his relationship with both his parents is vital to his physical and mental well-being”, with his father being “a key provider of the stable environment” and “the person most adept at calming [him]”. It was also unduly harsh for him to relocate to Barbados, as the disruption to his life, routine and emotional state would be “severe”. Such a move would also increase the risk to his health in light of written evidence provided by the former CEO of The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Barbados that his condition would be “vastly better managed” in the UK than in Barbados, where there were “no qualified specialists in this field”. The appeal was therefore allowed.
Unusually for an immigration case involving criminal offending, the Home Office did not seek permission to appeal further and the appellant was granted leave to remain in the UK.
Jonathan acted for the appellant throughout the proceedings pro bono via Advocate without a solicitor. This involved detailed preparation of the evidence as well advocacy before the Tribunal. In the determination, the Judge stated that “It was apparent from their conduct of the case that both representatives had prepared thoroughly and I am grateful for their assistance. It is worth emphasizing that Mr Metzer provided first class representation pro bono.”