Foreign killers may be spared deportation if they would get worse care in their homeland than under NHS
Britain may be prevented from deporting dangerous foreign criminals if the healthcare system in their homeland is not as good as the NHS.
A bombshell ruling from the Supreme Court means killers, rapists and drug dealers may be able to exploit controversial human rights laws to stay in the UK if they can argue they would be denied top-quality care if they were sent home.
The landmark judgment has already delayed the case of gang rapist Yaqub Ahmed, whose deportation to Somalia in October 2018 was blocked by a mutiny among plane passengers at Heathrow.
Since a 2005 House of Lords ruling, the Home Office has been able to deport foreign criminals who are receiving medical care in Britain as long as they are not at ‘imminent risk of dying’ from their illness.
However Supreme Court judges, including the controversial Baroness Hale, have now adopted a lower threshold as laid down by the European Court of Human Rights in 2016. Criminals now have only to prove they would experience ‘intense suffering or a significant reduction in life expectancy’ if sent home.
The ruling came in the case of a 33-year-old Zimbabwean father of one who arrived in the UK in 2000 and was later granted indefinite leave to remain.
But he went on to be convicted of a string of offences in a two-year period, including battery, assault, receiving stolen goods and possession of sharp blades in public. His deportation was ordered in November 2006 but he was not removed and in May 2009 was convicted of possession of a firearm and heroin with intent to supply. He was sentenced to seven years in jail.
Eleven years on, he is still trying to block his deportation under the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees that ‘no one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’.
He claimed that, as a HIV sufferer, deportation would deny him access to life-saving treatment as the anti-retroviral medication Eviplera is not available in Zimbabwe. The five Supreme Court justices ruled in his favour.
Ahmed is awaiting the result of a legal challenge against his removal, but the judge in his case has asked for new legal submissions in light of the latest ruling. The 30-year-old, who was jailed for nine years in 2008 for his part in the gang rape of a 16-year-old girl in London, claims his mental health has worsened as a result of being in detention.