A Romanian national who carried out a string of serious criminal offences can’t be deported because he is protected by EU law.

Denis Viscu, 20, arrived in the UK in 2007 with his family and between July 2014 and March 2017 received 14 convictions for 20 offences including robbery and knife possession.

But when the Home Office tried to deport him they were blocked by judges who held that under EU law he had rights to enhanced protection under the EU Citizens’ Directive as he had lived in the UK for five years.

During his legal fight to stay in the UK Viscu was further convicted of four more offences, including possession of a knife in a public place, burglary and possession of a Class A drug and was sentenced to a total of 4 ½ years detention in a young offenders institution.

In September 2017, the Home Office tried to deport Viscu because he was a ‘persistent offender’.

Government lawyers argued that although Viscu had lived in the United Kingdom since 2007 he was not entitled to enhanced protection under EU law because the time he had spent in custody ‘broke the continuity of lawful residence’.

But a judge held that, since Viscu was a juvenile he could not be sentenced to imprisonment and so his residence in the United Kingdom had been ‘continuous and uninterrupted’ availing him of special EU protection.

Under Chapter IV of the Citizens’ Directive, ‘Union citizens who have resided legally for a continuous period of five years in the host Member State shall have the right of permanent residence there.’

A member state can only expel an EU resident where they have strong grounds to believe their presence poses a risk to the public.

But the EU has added the caveat that ‘previous criminal convictions shall not in themselves constitute grounds for’ denying an EU citizen their right of residency.

Now the Court of Appeal has ordered that the case be reheard in full.

Lord Justice Underhill, sitting with two Court of Appeal judges, said the Home Secretary will be able to make a case for deportation on public policy and public security grounds.

The judge said: “Although the jurisprudence refers most frequently to “imprisonment” rather than “custodial sentence” I am quite satisfied that the rationale for the principle that, in general, a custodial sentence is indicative of a rejection of societal values and a severing of integrative links so as to interrupt the required continuity of residence, is equally applicable to sentences of detention in a YOI as it is to imprisonment.

“This is because, on a proper analysis, it is not the sentence which indicates rejection of societal values but the offending which is sufficiently serious to warrant a custodial sentence whether of imprisonment or some other form of detention.”

Source: Telegraph

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