'If You Murder Someone You Can Stay and If You Steal from Someone You Are Chucked Out' Philip Lawrence Widow Attacks Deportation Law

Article excerpt

Byline: Joe Sinclair

THE widow of murdered headmaster Philip Lawrence attacked Britain's deportation laws after a petty criminal was forcibly returned to the Philippines while her husband's Italian killer can stay in the UK.

Frances Lawrence said she has complained to Justice Secretary Jack Straw after John Garcia was deported from Anglesey - where he lived for 16 years - to the Philippines earlier this month for breaching an antisocial behaviour order (Asbo).

Mrs Lawrence, who was brought up in Sketty, in Swansea, is angry that Learco Chindamo, who stabbed her husband to death outside St George's Roman Catholic School in Maida Vale, west London, in December 1995, will not be deported on his release in the coming weeks.

Mr Lawrence died when a gang of 12 youths, led by Chindamo, went to attack a 13-year-old pupil, who had quarrelled with a boy of Filipino origin.

Chindamo, whose mother is Filipino and father Italian, punched and stabbed father of-four Mr Lawrence, who was trying to protect the pupil.

Mrs Lawrence said, "The law does not reflect the reality of people's real concerns. I feel this is Kafka-esque. I can't make sense of it. It concerns me.

"The law does not seem to have any relationship with ordinary people who can see what is right or wrong. It seems a very odd one on the face of it. I don't know if it is more to do with the European directive."

Justice Secretary Jack Straw personally intervened last August when it emerged that Chindamo would not be deported.

But in October, Mr Justice Collins, a senior High Court judge, upheld an Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (AIT) decision that Chindamo, who was jailed with a tariff of 12 years in 1996, cannot be deported on release.

The judge emphasised that his decision was mainly based on EU regulations and the fact that it would be "disproportionate" to remove the 27-year-old, as an EU citizen, under those regulations.

He said the law he had to apply was contained in the 2006 Immigration(European Economic Area) Regulations.

These state that a person who has acquired the right to reside in the UK could only be removed if their personal conduct represents "a genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat affecting one of the fundamental interests of society". …