Belfast Telegraph

Thug loses fight against deportation

By Alan Erwin

A Tunisian man convicted of violent and disorderly crimes in Northern Ireland has lost his legal fight to avoid deportation.

Judges at the Court of Appeal in Belfast held that the Secretary of State was entitled to decide Zouhair Makhlouf's removal was conducive to the public good.

They also rejected arguments it would infringe on his family life within the UK, upholding a ruling that his personal circumstances did not outweigh that interest.

Makhlouf (43) arrived in Britain in 1997 after marrying a UK national with whom he had a daughter. Following the couple's separation he entered into a new relationship which led to his son being born in 2006. His criminal record includes a conviction at Belfast Crown Court in 2005 for two counts of assault causing grievous bodily harm and possession of an offensive weapon.

A prison sentence of three years and three months was imposed.

Makhlouf was subsequently convicted at Enniskillen Magistrates Court of disorderly behaviour in 2009 and 2011.

In between those two cases he was found guilty of three counts of breaching a non-molestation order, assaulting police and resisting arrest. He has not seen his daughter since 2003, the court heard, while contact with his son stopped in 2010.

Noting Makhlouf's lack of contact with his children, the Lord Chief Justice pointed out the Family Court has already determined their welfare is best served by having no association with him.

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