A top immigration judge has criticised a “cavalier and unprofessional” law firm for obstructing the deportation of members of the Rochdale child sex gang and “weakening the rule of law”.
Only two of the nine men convicted following the Rochdale child grooming scandal remain in prison, and four are using taxpayers’ money to fight deportation to Pakistan.
The Nottingham based Sneinton law practice has fought to keep the four rapists – who were the focus a recent BBC drama Three Girls – in the UK. The men hold dual UK and Pakistani citizenship.
Mr. Justice Bernard McCloskey launched the attack at a hearing to discuss the cases of Shabir Ahmed, Adil Khan, Qari Abdul Rauf, and Abdul Aziz, who were convicted in 2012 of grooming, raping, and trafficking girls as young as 13.
According to the Nottingham Post, the judge threatened to refer lawyers handling the appeals to their professional bodies for disciplinary action, saying their behaviour could be regarded as being in contempt of court.
In a report into an adjournment in December, published last month, the judge said “scarce judicial and administrative resources have been wasted” by the firm, which is trying to stall proceedings by making appeals for adjournments and not filing reports on time.
He linked the actions to a number of other cases where proceeding had been stalled and delayed using tactics.
Describing the situation as “frankly shameful”, he said: “To describe this state of affairs as grossly unsatisfactory is an acute understatement. The tribunal has been treated with sustained and marked disrespect.
“The conduct of these appeals has been cavalier and unprofessional. The rule of law has been weakened in consequence. Disturbingly, there have been multiple recent examples of similar conduct and misconduct.
“In a recent lecture to the Law Society I spoke of the vital importance of partnership between the legal profession and the judiciary, There is no evidence of this partnership in these cases.”
The gang’s ringleader Shabir Ahmed, 64, has already lost an appeal against his possible deportation in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), during which he claimed his convictions were a conspiracy by police and members of the jury to “scapegoat” Muslims.