A Vietnamese national with a history of serious offending has lost his fight against deportation despite having a British partner and two British children. The Upper Tribunal had protected him from deportation but the Court of Appeal in SSHD v CT (Vietnam) allowed the Secretary of State's appeal.
The Respondent had been convicted of a number of offences including attempted murder and possession of a firearm with intent to danger life, apparently after shooting someone in the stomach following a drunken brawl in 1997. Later, in 2006 he had been convicted of conspiracy to cultivate and supply cannabis and a further offence relating to possession of a firearm and ammunition.
The Court of Appeal emphasised that when it came to making deportation decisions the 'starting point in considering exceptional circumstances [that bar deportation] is not neutral... Rather, the scales are heavily weighted in favour of deportation and something very compelling is required to swing the outcome in favour of a foreign criminal whom Parliament has said should be deported' and that when someone had been sentenced to at least four years' imprisonment 'it will almost always be proportionate to deport, even taking into account as a primary consideration the best interests of a child.'
The Court noted the lengthy sentences imposed and the apparent inconsistencies between the sentencing remarks of the judge in the criminal proceedings, and the Respondent's account. The Respondent's compliance with supervision orders was found to be nothing exceptional and the Court was unhappy that he was found to have a low risk of reoffending despite a history of doing just that. They were also, understandably, perturbed that the First-tier Tribunal regarded it as mitigatory that the offences were committed within the context of the Vietnamese community, the wider public not being immediately at risk. It seems remarkable that a tribunal would be willing to endorse the idea that crimes committed within an ethnic minority community are somehow less serious.
The judgment acknowledged that the deportation of the Respondent would be detrimental to his British Citizen children but emphasized that '[s]omething more is required to weigh in the balance and nothing of substance offered'. The judgment is another example (see also,Bassade v SSHD) of Courts and Tribunals taking a tough line against foreign national offenders.