Indian Convicted of Rape Gets Legal Aid to Fight for Custody of Son

by Gopalan on  March 25, 2009 at 12:32 PM Medico Legal News
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 Indian Convicted of Rape Gets Legal Aid to Fight for Custody of Son
A 45-year-old, convicted for rape and awaiting deportation has been granted legal aid to fight for custody of his eight-year-old son.

Parmod Arora, 45, is seeking a shared residency order that would allow him to spend time with a son he hardly knows.

And given the serious nature of his conviction, he has little chance of winning custody, still he has been allowed to employ a barrister and solicitors at taxpayers' expense to fight the case.

MPs and campaigners said the case was an absurd waste of public money.

Arora's deportation case is being considered by the European Court of Human Rights even though he has already had two appeals rejected in the British courts.

Now, in a separate move, he has been given legal aid to launch a belated claim for joint custody of his son.

Last night his former wife, known only as Claudia to protect her son's identity, expressed disbelief at the decision to award him state assistance.

She believes that the custody battle is merely a ruse to allow him to delay deportation even longer, Rebecca Camber and Keri Sutherland reported for Daily Mail.

'I can't believe he has been given legal aid,' she said. 'My son doesn't want to live with him -  he doesn't even have a relationship with him. It's madness.

'He's a convicted criminal. How can he think that he has the right to have my son living with him?

'I think the only reason he wants a residency order is because he thinks it will help him stay in this country.

'He is a very violent man. He is emotionally and physically abusive. I don't want him to harm my son like he did me.'

Born in Jalandhar in India, Arora entered the country illegally in 1984. A suspended sentence for slashing a a bus driver's face with a knife, a marriage broken amid complaints of violence, then the second marriage, more violence, such was his story before he was jailed for seven years for raping a 17-year-old girl.

Claudia, the second wife, gave birth to her son when Arora was out on bail in the rape case. The couple have since divorced.

The man was due to be deported in 2006 when he was released from jail.

Initially he was held in a detention centre awaiting deportation, but he appealed against the order and the matter was referred to the European Court of Human Rights in 2006.

Arora was released from detention in 2007 and now lives in a three-bedroom house in Hounslow, west London.

He cannot be removed from the country while a legal appeal is outstanding, although experts say it may take a couple of years before the European court hears his case.

In the meantime, the joint custody claim is due to be heard at Isleworth in May.

It is unclear how much legal aid Arora is receiving. But Claudia, who has also been granted state assistance, says each court appearance in relation to the custody battle costs Ģ4,000 in legal fees.

Tory MP for Shipley, Philip Davies, said: 'I am sure that the hard-pressed taxpayers who contribute to this legal aid fund will be appalled that their money is being spent on this sort of thing.'

Matthew Elliott, of the Taxpayers' Alliance, said: 'This case demonstrates the absurdity of our human rights laws, which give criminals more rights than ordinary people.'

The Legal Services Commission, which runs the legal aid scheme, said the case met their legal merits test and both parents had passed a financial means test.

A commission source said: 'The LSC cannot differentiate between applicants for legal aid on the grounds that a decision to grant funding may be unpopular in a particular case.'

Source: Medindia

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