A BBC Editor was hired as an expert witness to help at least 15 Somalian criminals fight deportation and remain in the U.K., it has emerged. The Telegraph has more.
Mary Harper, Africa Editor for the BBC’s World Service, was paid to give expert evidence for Yaqub Ahmed, a Somali gang rapist, during his five-year legal battle to remain in the U.K. He was deported in November.
An investigation by the Mail on Sunday has also found that she gave expert witness evidence in a series of other controversial deportation appeals by Somali offenders, including three other sex attackers, three drug dealers and a career criminal who spent a decade in British jails.
In one case, she reportedly cautioned that the criminal’s repeated history of offending in the U.K. – 39 convictions for 80 crimes over a period of 17 years – would result in him being shunned by his clan if he was returned to Somalia.
In another, it was reported that Ms. Harper warned that a 29-year-old Somali man who sexually assaulted a deaf girl aged 17 would be at “severely heightened risk” if he was sent back to Somalia because he had committed a sex crime.
His appeal against deportation was thrown out by a judge who disagreed with her argument. The newspaper said some 16 months later, the attacker – whom it is prevented by law from identifying – remains in the U.K. and has been living in a council flat with his family.
The BBC has since announced that Ms. Harper was leaving the organisation. It is understood that she will depart later this month and that her most recent role at the corporation was as a journalist reporter. It remains unclear whether she quit or was sacked.
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