Judge Blocks Serial Sex Offender's Deportation: Nobody Asked about 'His Feelings'
South African national Phile Ngema escapes deportation, despite seriousness of crimes
A South African serial sex offender has escaped deportation after a judge argued that nobody asked him about "his feelings" regarding his crimes.
28-year-old Phile Ngema will now be allowed to remain in the UK, despite his many sex crimes convictions.
Upper Tribunal Judge Declan O'Callaghan blocked the deportation by ruling that the Home Office should have stopped to ask him how he felt about his offending.
Ngema has been convicted of four indecent exposures, failing to obey community orders, and has been the subject of a sex offenders notice for 15 years.
During his most recent crime in 2018, Ngema pursued a lone woman walking through a park before confronting her and "carrying out a sex act."
The terrified victim told police "He was looking at her straight in the eye" and forced her "to see what he was doing."
But the Bristol-based illegal alien offender won his appeal against a tribunal ruling which decided he should not be allowed to stay in the county.
Despite the seriousness of his crimes, Judge O'Callaghan said the Home Office – referred to as the respondent in his judgment – had not cross-examined Ngema about the proceedings and his views on his crimes.
He told the Immigration and Asylum Chamber at Field House, London that it meant the judge at that original hearing made an error in law by concluding he was a "persistent offender."
Judge O'Callaghan said: "Unusually, the respondent decided not to cross-examine either the appellant or his witnesses before the First-tier Tribunal."
"It would not be appropriate for this Tribunal when considering materiality to consider issues upon which the appellant was not given a fair opportunity to comment on matters now said to be wholly adverse to him.
"I make the following observation with respect to the decision of the respondent not to cross-examine the witnesses before the First-tier Tribunal, a decision said to have been made on the purported basis that there was nothing controversial in their evidence.
"It is striking that the appellant provides very little detail as to his conviction in 2018 beyond asserting that he pleaded not guilty.
"Whilst complaining that the victim changed her witness statement, there is no confirmation in the appellant's witness statement as to his attending a trial and being found guilty.
"I am surprised that the appellant was not cross-examined on his continued denial of the offence.
"Nor was there any engagement with the appellant as to how such denial impacts upon his ability to address sexual preoccupation and deviant fantasies linked to voyeurism."
Ngema's convictions stretch back as far as June 8, 2012, where he was handed a community order at South Somerset and Mendip Magistrates Court for two indecent exposures.
He had been near a care home when he committed the crimes and later claimed he could not remember them because he had been high on drugs.
The next year he was up at Taunton Crown Court again for indecent exposure and given another community order.
Again he said he had been high on drugs at the time and had not closed his curtains when he was watching pornography.
By September 21, 2015, he was in Bristol Crown Court for failing to comply with a community order then again on January 6, 2016, for the same offense.
Over a year later he was before Avon and Somerset Magistrates' Court to be convicted of three counts of failing to comply with notification requirements.
But on August 9, 2018, he targeted a woman just after 8.10 am in the morning in Bristol's Perrett Park.
The female victim was walking through the park and approaching a 'zig-zag' path when she saw Ngema run down a hill and cut across her path.
He continued in the direction of the exit from the park which leads into a neighboring road.
As she approached the same exit, she observed the appellant standing in an alcove by garages, making a fast and rhythmic movement.
She noticed that he had exposed himself and was performing a sex act, looking straight at her.
Ngema claimed he had been simply "relieving" himself.
He was jailed on October 29, 2018, and placed on the sex offenders' register for seven years, which sparked the deportation bid.
Now his appeal has succeeded his case will be heard again in front of a tribunal.
A Home Office spokesperson said: "We make no apology for trying to protect the public from serious, violent and persistent foreign national offenders
"Any foreign national who is convicted of a crime and given a prison sentence is considered for deportation at the earliest opportunity, and since January 2019 we have removed 8,441 foreign national offenders.
"Our New Plan for Immigration will stop the abuse of the system and expedite the removal of those who have no right to be here."