David Barrett, Telegraph (London), January 7, 2014
A Jamaican crack dealer who was jailed and banned from an entire London borough because of his crimes has used human rights laws to overturn a Home Office bid to deport him.
Keno Forbes, 35, who operated under the street name “Blood”, was convicted of 11 counts of supplying Class A drugs on a housing estate in Islington, north London, in 2011.
The judges’ decision means Forbes will be able to stay in this country indefinitely.
He would commute from Stevenage, Herts, to deal drugs on a daily basis in the 1960s-built Bemerton Estate in Islington.
Forbes was jailed for three years at Blackfriars Crown Court and handed a 10 year anti-social behaviour order which prevented him from entering the borough of Islington.
The Home Office tried to have Forbes sent back to his home country on the grounds that any foreign criminal jailed for more than 12 months iseligible for automatic deportation.
Forbes’s lawyers lodged an appeal under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights–which sets out the right to “private and family life”–and said removing him would damage his relationship with his wife and children.
The drug dealer won his case at the immigration and asylum tribunal and the Home Office lodged an appeal, claiming the court had failed to give adequate reasons why it ruled Forbes was in a “subsisting relationship” with his wife.
The Home Office also claimed the court was wrong to say that Forbes’ relationship with his children outweighed the public interest in him being removed from Britain.
But an appeal heard by Mr Justice McCloskey, the president of the Immigration and Asylum Chamber Upper Tribunal, upheld the earlier decision.
In his ruling, Mr Justice McCloskey said the lower court had said it was a “borderline case” but the balance “swung narrowly in favour” of Forbes and his family.
The case will reignite the row over the way courts have interpreted measures introduced by Theresa May, the Home Secretary, in 2012 which won unanimous backing from the House of Commons.
Mrs May changed immigration rules to make clear that foreign criminals should only be allowed to avoid deportation in exceptional cases.
But judges have repeatedly granted appeals and critics claim they have ignored the criteria set out by Parliament.
Forbes had been convicted of two previous offences of possessing Class A drugs in 2009, when he was given community orders.
He was then arrested as part of an operation, code-named Amargosa, in April 2011 which targeted drug-dealing in the Caledonian Road area of the borough.
Forbes was arrested on July 14 that year after he was identified as a major supplier.
When police officers searched an address used by Forbes in Rufford Street, Islington, they discovered drug paraphernalia including scales, a chopping board covered in white powder, cling film and a razor blade.
A Home Office spokesman said: “We are disappointed by the tribunal’s decision and are now considering our options in this case. We firmly believe foreign nationals who break the law should be deported.
“We are starting the deportation process earlier and removing foreign criminals quicker than ever. Since 2010, the Home Office has removed or deported more than 17,000 foreign national offenders, including 4,765 in 2012.
“Through our Immigration Bill we will reduce the 17 rights of appeal to four and those with no right to be here will not be able to prevent deportation simply by dragging out the appeals process.
“The Bill will also give the full force of primary legislation to our policy that foreign criminals should ordinarily be deported despite their claim to a family life.”