A violent foreign criminal who held a knife to the throat of a victim has overturned a government attempt to deport him due to his “right to family life”.
By David Barrett, Home Affairs Correspondent
9:00PM BST 29 Jun 2013
Lee Corbin, 50, has been allowed to stay in Britain because of what a court described as his “amazing” relationship with seven children he has fathered by three different women.
Corbin has 75 criminal convictions to his name and has been handed jail sentences totalling more than 16 years since he came to this country in 1978.
Theresa May, the Home Secretary, began a legal bid to send him back to Barbados after he had served his latest four-year jail term for an attempted knife-point robbery.
The immigration tribunal agreed Corbin poses a danger to the public, and to his partner, and that he poses a “high risk of committing further offences”.
However, the judges concluded his human rights, enshrined in European legislation, outweigh the danger he poses to the public.
The panel ruled that Corbin’s “amazing (sic) strong family life” meant that he should be allowed to stay.
Mrs May appealed against the decision but lost, and Corbin will now be able to stay in Britain permanently.
MPs described Corbin’s case as “scandalous” and said it highlighted an urgent need for reform of human rights laws.
Corbin, 50, came to Britain from Barbados in 1978 aged 16 and was granted indefinite leave to remain.
He was convicted of robbery at Bristol Crown Court in 1997 and jailed for six years.
In 2005, he was jailed for eight weeks for a number of motoring offences and resisting a constable, and the following year the Home Office warned him that he would be liable for deportation if he got into trouble again.
Despite this, in 2010 he was convicted of attempted robbery and possession of an offensive weapon and jailed for four years.
The crime involved Corbin placing a knife at his victim’s throat.
Any foreign criminal jailed for more than 12 months is subject to automatic deportation and, therefore, the Home Secretary wrote to Corbin to tell him she was going to attempt to have him removed from Britain.
Corbin’s lawyers warned the home secretary they would fight the case under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects the “right to private and family life”.
Mrs May went ahead and the criminal appealed to the immigration tribunal.
“He relied upon his private life formed over 34 years in the UK and also family life which he had formed with seven children who had been born to three different partners in the UK,” said the court papers.
“The first-tier tribunal allowed the appeal under the rules and also under Article 8.”
The Home Secretary lodged her own appeal against the decision, arguing the judges had failed to take into account the “high risk of reoffending” and the fact that Corbin had received 24 convictions for 75 separate criminal offences.
She also argued the lower court had failed to apply new rules she introduced last summer which set out that foreign criminals should only be able to make successful claims under Article 8 in “exceptional” cases.
However, Upper Tribunal Judge Andrew Grubb said the original judges did not make any mistakes and upheld the decision, dismissing the Home Secretary’s appeal.
Priti Patel, a Conservative MP, said: “This is a scandalous example of how human rights legislation is being used and abused by criminals who have no regard for conventional family life.
“This is a very clear example of why we need the Home Office and the British Parliament to have the final say on such cases.”
David Davies, the MP for Monmouth who also works as a special constable, said: “This man is a walking example of what’s wrong with human rights in this country.
“It is outrageous that a load of human rights judges give more credibility to his right to stay in Britain committing acts of violence and robbery, rather than the rights of his innocent victims.”
A Home Office spokeswoman said: “This kind of case is precisely why we are looking to change the law in the new Immigration Bill which will be introduced later this year.
“We want to ensure the courts properly reflect Parliament’s view that serious criminals should be deported unless there are very exceptional circumstances.”