The appellant was a Sri Lankan Tamil who fled the country with his family and neighbours in four open boats after the appellant’s father had been detained and tortured on suspicion of association with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). While en route, the convoy was attacked by the Sri Lankan navy and two of the boats were sunk. However, the appellant and his family reached a refugee camp in Tamil Nadu.
The appellant’s father then came to the UK in 1997 and was granted asylum following a successful appeal in 2000. The rest of the family joined him and were granted indefinite leave to remain. The family eventually became naturalized British citizens, but the appellant was estranged from them at the time and an application was not made on his behalf.
In August 2016, the appellant was sentenced to 16 months’ imprisonment arising out of fraudulent activity at cash machines. As a result, the Secretary of State made deportation order and in November 2017 refused his asylum and human rights claims.
Meanwhile, the appellant had established a large family, including a partner (who is a British citizen), a young son, four stepchildren and two older children from his previous relationship. During the appeal proceedings, the appellant’s partner gave birth to their second child (a daughter) and became pregnant with their third. This led to the matter being adjourned for the Secretary of State to issue a detailed replacement decision in July 2019.
The First-tier Tribunal found that despite some differences between the appellant’s account and the adjudicator’s findings regarding his father, the appellant would be “readily identifiable” as the son of a man who had been detained and subjected to ill-treatment. Furthermore, “a wealth of information” had been provided about the appellant’s involvement in diaspora political activity. This, held the Judge, amounted to “a considerable body of evidence”, which “paints a picture of a man who is opposed to the Sinhalese occupation, as he sees it, of the Tamil enclave within Sri Lanka”. Objective material was provided which showed that the Sri Lankan High Commission actively monitors anti-Sri Lankan activities in the UK. Finally, whilst recognised as not directly relevant, the Judge also stated that “I am satisfied [his activities] are not borne of a desire cynically to exploit his circumstances in the UK despite his being a convicted fraudster”.
The Tribunal concluded that “compelling evidence” had been provided to demonstrate that the appellant would be perceived as a threat to the integrity of Sri Lanka on return. Under the principles in GJ and Others , the appellant was recognised as a refugee.
The Upper Tribunal refused the Secretary of State’s application for permission to appeal.
Jonathan Metzer was involved in this case from an early stage, providing advice on evidence throughout as well as advocacy at the appeal.
He was instructed by Goldan Lambert and Aicha Aidi of Raj Law Solicitors.