A Turkish drug trafficker sentenced to 20 years\’ imprisonment for his role in one of Britain\’s largest-ever heroin seizures cannot be deported because of an obscure European law.
But his lawyers successfully overturned their efforts by mounting a lengthy series of appeals, focusing on a little-known, 30-year-old treaty between the EU and Turkey which mainly deals with import duty on fruit and vegetables.
The treaty which enabled Gok win his case governs tariffs on goods between Turkey and Europe, and includes a detailed list of aubergines, watermelons, marrows and other foodstuffs covered by the agreement.
Known as \”Decision 1/80 of the Association Council of September 19, 1980\”, it also includes a number of \”social provisions\” which were the key element of the case put forward by Gok\’s solicitor.
It meas that Turkish nationals can only be denied the right to live and work in European Community states if they pose a \”specific risk of new and serious prejudice to the requirements of public policy\”.
Ah, there it is. Now, having signed up for this then of course we have to live by it. We are a country ruled by the law…the details of the law, not the spirit of it….and not by whatever laws the powers that be find convenient at any one time.
But precisely because we are a country ruled by the law we have to be very careful indede which laws we sign up for. And of course we\’re not careful. The entire European Union system militates against anyone being careful in that manner. Which is why we end up in such situations: no one properly discusses or debates these laws, we cannot reject them (new ones of this type, covering trade as it does, would be in the sole competence of the European Union anyway), essentially, we\’re stuck with whatever Brussels decides to stick us with.
Maybe heroin smugglers who have gone straight should be allowed to stay upon release, maybe they shouldn\’t.
But it is something that you\’d rather our own Parliament would have the opportunity to decide upon, wouldn\’t you?