A FAILED asylum seeker convicted of rape has sparked fury after he won a High Court battle to have the taxpayer pay for his travel expenses.
The jobless man who lives in Cosham smokes 35 cigarettes a day – but refuses to give up his habit to pay for travel expenses from his home to Kent to see his young son.
The Iranian national, who for legal reasons can only be identified as MG, won a ruling that the Home Secretary’s refusal to pay up was an ‘unjustifiable interference’ with his basic human rights.
The news has angered Portsmouth’s Tory council leader Donna Jones, who branded the move as ‘grossly unfair’.
Speaking to The News, she said: ‘Situations like this have got to stop. Britain is already broke. We can’t afford to be subsiding people like this with taxpayers’ money.
‘It’s grossly unfair. He has absolutely played the system.’
Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond was ‘concerned’ the man was still in the UK.
‘I understand there is an appeal system, but it is disappointing that a man with a conviction for such a serious offence has not been sent home six years after he was jailed,’ she said.
‘Many people may be rightly questioning why we are still paying for his accommodation, travel expenses and cigarettes.’
Deputy High Court judge Michael Kent QC, sitting in London, said MG came to the UK as long ago as June 2004.
His claim for asylum was refused in September that year and his rights of appeal against that refusal were exhausted in March 2005.
However, despite this, the man remained in the country until September 2009 when he was convicted of rape and jailed for five years.
MG was served with notice of deportation after release on licence from prison – but was not deported and went to live in the Brighton area.
In March 2012 he began a relationship with a British woman, referred to as EW, who gave birth to his child.
Their relationship broke down in January.
MG was recalled to prison for a breach of his licence conditions after a conviction for possessing a Class B drug.
EW gave birth to their son in September 2013, while he was still in prison, and shortly after moved to live with her parents in Canterbury, Kent.
After being released from prison for a second time, MG made a fresh asylum claim – one that was refused.
A deportation order was issued for October.
He appealed against this. The judge explained because of this it was likely the man would remain in the UK until next year.
Reacting to this, Cllr Jones said it highlighted the importance of the Conservative’s long-promised referendum on whether Britain remains in the European Union.
‘This is yet another example of where Europe, imposed here through the Human Rights Act, is dictating to the British authorities how we should be managing and dealing with atrocious situations like this,’ she said.
However, Portsmouth Labour leader John Ferret felt an EU referendum would not help.
Cllr Ferrett, who worked in the immigration service for about 12 years, instead questioned the efficiency of the UK’s current asylum system.
He said: ‘I think it does highlight and understate the need to have a system that works efficiently and far more quickly because clearly someone who has managed to remain in the country for over a decade proves the current system is not fit for purpose.’
The man has been given accommodation at Cosham and is provided £36.95 per week in aid – the standard amount the government has to pay to asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute.
The judge ruled the Home Office had failed to show MG had sufficient cash from his modest income to fund his £13.55 return fare from Kent – even if he did cut down on his smoking habit.