CHIANGRAI TIMES – Britain has become embroiled in a debate about individuals who cite ”the right to a family life” to avoid deportation – and it may affect the appeal of a British man against a move to have him stand trial on Phuket for murder.
Lee ”Pitbull” Aldhouse has appealed to Britain’s Supreme Court over an order in a lower court to have him returned to Thailand where he is accused of murdering American Dashawn Longfellow in a notorious Phuket killing.
His deportation was supported by the relevant government minister, British Home Secretary Therese May, but Aldhouse’s lawyers appear likely to continue to appeal the decision as far as they can.
Now a move towards new British legilation is being considered that could emperil the case Aldhouse is said to be making – that his rights will be denied if he is deported to face the prospect of a term in a Thai jail.
Mrs May is to ask MPs to pass a motion declaring that the right to a family life – enshrined in Article 8 of the European convention on human rights – is not absolute, British newspapers report today.
”The move is aimed at balancing that right with the need to protect the economic wellbeing of the country, promote public safety and cut crime but is likely to be seen as a direct challenge to the judges who have previously interpreted Article 8 through the development of case law,” reports the Guardian.
Mrs May told the BBC that judges must ”follow or take into account” the views of Parliament before coming to decisions on whether prisoners should be deported, says the Daily Telegraph.
The right to a family life is enshrined in under European law. The rules allow hundreds of foreign criminals to delay or prevent deportation each year, according to the newspaper.
It is not known whether the ”right to a family life” has been argued in the Aldhouse case but the argument has certainly been used with success to prevent foreign criminals being deported from Britain.
Aldhouse’s legal team is thought to have consistently argued that Thai jails failed to meet international standards and therefore Aldhouse’s rights would be affected if he had to serve time in Phuket Prison or elsewhere in Thailand.
His family is believed to be based in Britain, so it could be argued that deportation would deprive him of contact with them.
An online petition to Britain’s Supreme Court organised recently through Facebook by the US-based family of Dashawn Longfellow has so far attracted 398 signatures.
The petition calls for Aldhouse to be ”extradited back to Thailand to stand trial for the murder of our son, brother, cousin, and friend Dashawn Longfellow.”
Longfellow was ambushed and knifed to death after Aldhouse started a fight in a bar in southern Phuket in August, 2010. Aldhouse lost the fight. Longfellow lost his life.
If the move to extradite Aldhouse succeeds, it would be the first time a British citizen has been extradited to face a charge in Thailand. If the move is lost, the US Government is likely to be asked to consider alternative action.