Sex offender ordered to pay legal fees after 'hopeless' bid to avoid deportation
A convicted Sri Lankan sex offender who arrived in the UK by "clandestine" means has been told to pay legal fees run up by Home Secretary Theresa May after a judge concluded he staged a "hopeless" bid to avoid deportation.
Judge Karen Walden-Smith ordered father-of-three Ravi Paramalingam to pay the best part of £1,000 after dismissing his bid for a judicial review of a deportation decision at a High Court hearing in London.
Mrs May spent about £1,100 of taxpayers' money employing a barrister to represent her at the hearing, Judge Walden-Smith was told.
The judge said Paramalingam - who had claimed that deportation would breach his human rights - should pay £800 of that bill.
Paramalingam, who has links to Cardiff, had said he no money and Judge Walden-Smith accepted that her order was probably academic, b ut she was making the ruling on principle.
The judge said she had the power to order a judicial review claimant to pay Home Office legal bills if a claim had been hopeless or an abuse of the judicial review process.
She said Paramalingam's claim had been hopeless but it meant that plans for his deportation to Sri Lanka had to be rearranged.
Paramalingam arrived in the UK by "clandestine means" in 1999 - and was refused political asylum, Judge Walden-Smith said in her ruling.
He married in 2004 and his children were born in 2006, 2008 and 2010 - and he had worked illegally.
In 2011 he was given indefinite leave to remain on the basis of his "lengthy residence" in the UK, the judge added.
Over the years he was convicted of 24 offences.
Mrs May ordered his deportation after he was convicted of serious sexual offences at Cardiff Crown Court three years ago, said Judge Walden-Smith.
Paramalingam was convicted of two sex offences plus trespass with intent to commit sex offences and given a four-year jail term, she added.
Mrs May concluded that his return to Sri Lanka would be conducive to the public good.
He had been placed into immigration detention after leaving prison in September 2015.
Paramalingam represented himself at the High Court hearing, although the judge was told he had been represented by a lawyer at an earlier stage.
He said deportation would breach his right to respect for family life - a right enshrined in Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights - and his wife and children's right to respect for family life.
Barrister Victoria Hutton, who represented Mrs May, said human rights had been considered and deportation was proportionate.
She said Mrs May felt that the judicial review bid was hopeless and wanted money she spent on legal bills repaid.
Judge Walden-Smith dismissed Paramalingam's claim and said Mrs May's decision could not be faulted.
She said she would order Paramalingam to pay some of the legal fees run up by Mrs May.
The judge said "hopelessness" and "abuse" of process were grounds for making costs orders against claimants.
"This case falls into those exceptional circumstances," said the judge. "This was a hopeless claim."
She added: "I will make (an) order for costs."