Rapist facing deportation is awarded legal aid to fight for the custody of his estranged son, 8

08:09 by Editor · 0 Post a comment on AAWR

A convicted rapist facing 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. 

To the fury of his former wife, he has been allowed to employ a barrister and solicitors at taxpayers' expense to fight a case he has almost no chance of winning because of the serious nature of his conviction.

Legal aid has been granted despite the fact that the Indian national has had little or no relationship with his son since his birth and is due to be thrown out of the country.

Last night 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.

'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. He was given a 12-month suspended sentence in 1990 for slashing a bus driver's face with a knife after he spoke to his first wife.

That marriage, which produced three children, broke down several years later amid claims that Arora beat her.

He met his second wife, Claudia, when she got a job working at his shop at the age of 17. The couple married two years later in 1998, but Arora soon turned to violence, regularly hitting his wife.

In August 1999 he lured a 15-year-old girl to a shop where he worked in Hounslow, West London, and raped her.

He was arrested in January 2000. Seven months later his wife gave birth to their son whilst Arora was on bail.

In July 2001, Arora was jailed for seven years at Isleworth Crown Court and 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.

Claudia, who is divorced from Arora, said the children from his previous marriage were in care when she met him.

She added: 'There was a lot of domestic violence that the children had been subjected to. Even friends say now he comes across as a very nice guy, trustworthy. No one knows his background.

'When he was arrested he claimed he was being investigated for fraud. I was horrified when I found out he had raped that girl.'

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 £4,000 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.  continues here

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