Qatada: Judgement reserved in bid to have ruling overturned

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THE Court of Appeal has reserved judgment on a bid by Home Secretary Theresa May to overturn a decision allowing radical preacher Abu Qatada, below, to stay in the UK.

Mrs May’s legal team submitted in a one-day hearing in London that he was a “dangerous” individual who escaped deportation through “errors of law”.

The Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) decided in November that Qatada could not be removed to Jordan, where he was convicted of terror charges in his absence in 1999.

Siac judges said there was a “real risk” that evidence from Qatada’s former co-defendants, Abu Hawsher and Al-Hamasher, who were allegedly tortured, could be used against him at a retrial, breaching his human rights.

Edward Fitzgerald QC, appearing for Qatada, now in his early 50s, argued yesterday that the Siac ruling was right and there was “a real risk of a flagrant denial of justice”.

But James Eadie QC, appearing for Mrs May, said the Siac decision should be quashed. He argued that the Siac judges, chaired by Mr Justice Mitting, had taken an “erroneous” view of the position in Jordan and the legal tests that had to be applied. Lord Dyson, Master of the Rolls, sitting with Lord Justice Richards and Lord Justice Elias, said the court would take time to consider its decision. A further hearing relating to bail is expected on 
21 March.