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Phuket Murder: Bid to Change Law May Speed Aldhouse Deportation

Sunday, June 10, 2012
PHUKET: 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.

Comments

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From a legal stand-point this case could well turn out to set a new precedence in English Law. The problem, as I see it, is that if his appeal fails there is still the European Court of Human Rights and it's no secret that they rarely allow for extradition where conditions are appalling. Again, I knew Dashawn and he was a very fine fellow and I would certainly like to see justice be done.

@Ed - Interested to know, under what law would the U.S Government be able to consider alternative action? The crime was not committed on US soil, neither UK soil and therefore cannot be tried in either court. Do you know something different? Would be very interesting to know.

Posted by Graham on June 10, 2012 18:38

Editor Comment:

Is it English law, or British law? What we've reported is: ''If the move is lost, the US Government is likely to be asked to consider alternative action.''

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I am friends with the family of Dashawn Longfellow. What about his family's right to family life? They have been sorely deprived. I see their misery and pain too often.

Posted by Danna on June 11, 2012 21:17

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This is the kind of laws that are typical for the whole of Europe. The whole continent take it "humanistic" mission to the point where the rights of criminals weigh heavier than the victims, against almost everybodys whish, and against all common sense. Criminals must get all kinds of privileges, to the point where people from eastern europe for example comes to for example Sweden, commits a serious crime, gets educated in prison, gets a salary (!!Yeah, I know..) and leaves prison a better off man than before they commited the crime. It's all insane..

Posted by christian on June 13, 2012 07:00


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