Cocaine smuggling sisters win court fight over deportation
Two sisters jailed for trying to smuggle cocaine into Northern Ireland have won their appeals against a decision to have them deported.
Senior judges in Belfast ruled by a two to one majority that the moves taken by the Home Secretary against Dutch women Siegnerella and Siegnette Flaneur should be quashed.
Their verdict could now have wider significance for other cases of EU nationals facing expulsion from the United Kingdom after serving prison sentences.
The decision to deport the sisters back to Holland concluded that they committed the crime for money and would re-offend for the same reason.
They were arrested at Belfast International Airport in April 2008 in connection with the attempted importation into the UK of 136g of cocaine.
Siegnette (28) had been studying interior design at college at the time of her arrest and claimed she was encouraged to bring the drugs because her family was in debt.
Her 24-year-old sister had left her social work course after falling pregnant at the age of 18.
After both pleaded guilty, Siegnette was jailed for three years and Siegnerella was jailed for two and a half years.
They challenged deportation orders following their release on the basis that they contravened their EC Treaty right to freedom of travel within the EU.
It was also claimed the orders were in breach of Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006.
Lawyers for the women argued there was no evidence available to the Home Secretary that either of them posed a present threat of re-offending.