Remember this in August 2012?
LINK to full story in The MAIL. ( He volunteered to fight for Britain. Now this soldier faces deportation and jail... all over a speeding fine )
LINK to this Glyn Strong's BLOG. (Deported for speeding offence )
LINK to UK Progressive. (Not fit for Purpose)
LINK to TTV/VETERANS AID film and interview:(Two Tier Justice)
Today the High Court ruled against the Home Secretary's original decision describing the current "good character" assessment process as "mechanistic and inflexible".
A victory for common sense and for the charity Veterans Aid which supported this man from the outset.
VETERAN WINS LANDMARK APPEAL AGAINST CITIZENSHIP DECISION
A veteran once threatened with deportation and a prison sentence for enlisting in the British Army today won his judicial review against the Home Secretary’s decision.
Mr. Poloko Hiri, a national of Botswana described by senior military figures as an “intelligent, motivated and hard-working soldier” with an “exemplary record of conduct”, has been supported by the charity Veterans Aid since being refused British Citizenship by the Home Office on the basis of a speeding offence for which he received 5 points and a £100 fine.
Mr. Hiri, who is presently studying law and living in Veterans Aid accommodation, said, “The first thing that came into my mind when the barrister took my statement was ‘Where would I have been without Veterans Aid?’.I just don’t know. I couldn’t have gone back to Botswana - I wouldn’t have been anywhere. I am so grateful to Veterans Aid for all it has done for me and so very glad that this is over. I now want to get on with my life, finish my law degree and be a good citizen of the UK.”
The Secretary of State had repeatedly asserted that Mr. Hiri was not of “good character”, because of this single offence but in her judgment Mrs. Justice Lang concluded that the good character test had been applied in a “mechanistic and inflexible” way. She said that all aspects of the applicant’s character, not just whether they have previous criminal convictions, should be taken into account adding “It is much wider in scope than that.”
CEO of Veterans Aid Dr Hugh Milroy welcomed the ruling and said, “This charity deals with a large number of appeals from Foreign & Commonwealth veterans, and even serving personal who, through no fault of their own, have fallen foul of immigration rulings. I can honestly say that none have presented a better case for the system to be reviewed than Mr. Hiri. He was an exemplary soldier and is a most diligent and personable individual.
“Although, after our intervention, he avoided deportation by seeking asylum, and was subsequently given limited leave to remain, the underlying wrong was the flawed process applied to his initial application. That decision deprived him of the means to survive by either working or claiming benefits; it was not only unjust but also inhumane. That said we are encouraged to note a general move towards greater flexibility in these cases and are grateful for the concern expressed by former Immigration Minister Mark Harper.”
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NATURALISATION- REFUSAL ON GOOD CHARACTER GROUNDS- JUDICIAL REVIEW
DUNCAN LEWIS PRESS RELEASE
The High Court today ruled in favour of a distinguished former member of the British Armed Forces who had been refused British Citizenship by the Home Office on the basis of a sole speeding offence for which he received 5 points and a £100 fine.
Mr Poloko Hiri, a national of Botswana, had been described by senior military figures as an “intelligent, motivated and hard-working soldier” with an “exemplary record of conduct”, who “had his character put to the test … where his peers have had to depend on him in austere and challenging environments.” Despite that evidence, the Secretary of State repeatedly asserted that Mr Hiri was not of “good character”, insisting on the narrow basis of his speeding offence.
Today the High Court held that the Secretary of State’s “decision-making process was legally flawed” and has set out that she should “re-consider her decision in accordance with the law”. Mrs Justice Lang DBE warned against the Secretary of State applying her policy on the determination of ‘good character’ in a “mechanistic and inflexible” way and set out that the Secretary of State “must consider all aspects of the applicant’s character” where “the statutory test is not whether applicants have previous criminal convictions – it is much wider in scope than that.”
In this case, the High Court has held that Home Office official “deliberately excluded from his consideration the circumstances of the offence and the mitigating factors”.
The Home Office frequently insisted in this case, in line with her policy, that it could not “overlook” or “disregard” Mr Hiri’s offence. However, Mr Hiri had repeatedly made clear to the Secretary of State that he took full responsibility for the offence and accepted that it must be taken into account; he simply asked to have that conviction weighed in the balance against all of the evidence he had provided, in order to assess his character as a whole. The holistic approach advocated by Mr Hiri has been upheld by the High Court today.
Mrs Justice Lang DBE has set out that in these cases “The Defendant is entitled to adopt a policy on the way in which criminal convictions will normally be considered by her caseworkers, but it should not be applied mechanistically and inflexibly. There has to be a comprehensive assessment of each applicant’s character, as an individual, which involves an exercise of judgment, not just ticking boxes on a form.”
Toufique Hossain, Public and Immigration Law Director at Duncan Lewis and solicitor in the case says:
“Those who will read this judgment will see that the Judge applied fairness and common sense to this case. Our argument was simply that a man who gave his life to fight for this country, and in every other way but for one speeding offence, showed good character, should not be deprived of British Citizenship. It is a shame this had to go all the way to the High Court. The Home Secretary should have seen sense long ago instead of fighting this case. We are grateful to the British Armed Forces and to Veterans Aid for all their support for our client.”
Mr Hiri was represented by Raza Halim of Garden Court Chambers. Solicitor, Toufique Hossain of Duncan Lewis.