New law will make families safer, says dad of hit-and-run victim

First published in Blackburn Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Local government reporter

THE father of a 12-year-old girl killed by a failed asylum seeker in a hit-and-run accident has welcomed new moves to require the deportation of foreigners guilty of serious crimes.

Paul Houston, 43, said the pledge to introduce fresh legislation would clarify the law for judges and victims’ families.

After his daughter Amy was killed in a hit-and-run in Blackburn in November 2003 he campaigned endlessly to have the driver, Iraqi Kurd Aso Mohammed Ibrahim, deported. But his efforts were unsuccessful and the law as it stands enabled Ibrahim to remain in Britain.

Home secretary Theresa May has accused judges of making the UK more dangerous by ignoring rules aimed at deporting more foreign criminals.

Last year, MPs approved guidance for judges making clear a convicted offender's right to family life had limits.

Mrs May now wants to introduce a law requiring most foreigners guilty of serious crimes to be deported, arguing some judges were choosing to ‘ignore Parliament's wishes’.

The guidance aimed to end to the right to a family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights being used to allow foreign criminals to remain in the UK, rather than being deported.

Ibrahim was imprisoned for four months for the killing but was never deported despite committing further offences. In April 2011, High Court judges allowed him to stay because he had fathered two children in the UK on the grounds of his right to family life.

In another similar case Wei Lin was jailed for two years at Burnley Crown Court in June 2008 for cultivating a cannabis garden worth £200,000 in a disused Nelson pub. He was later deported to China despite attempts to prevent it.

Mr Houston, who has lived in Darwen and Oswaldtwistle, said: “I welcome this move. It is a step in the right direction and will end grey areas in the law making it easier for judges.

“It should also end the way the human rights act has been abused by criminals.

“It is long overdue.

“It too late for Amy’s killer to be deported but it should help prevent this happening to other families in the future.”

Blackburn MP Jack Straw said: “I think changing the law is the right thing to do but criticising judges is not. The Amy Houston case has been terrible.

“I could not believe the judges ruled in Ibrahim’s favour. I hope changing the law will prevent a repeat of this.”

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