The Court of Appeal won’t interfere when judges have used their discretion well, says Dorota Pawlowski
Possession proceedings were issued by Friendship Housing and Care Limited against Mr Qasim and his wife Mrs Begum, because of his criminal activity.
At the time of the trial last March he was serving a lengthy sentence for possession with intent to supply class A drugs and cannabis.
The couple has seven children, the eldest, 23, is severely disabled, and the youngest was 20 months old. His honour judge Worster was concerned about their fate. Nevertheless, an outright order for possession was made in May 2011.
Mrs Begum appealed, arguing the judge failed to give proper weight to the interests of the children and had acted ‘irrationally’ when deciding not to suspend the possession order, as it would be impossible to enforce a condition prohibiting Mr Qasim from returning to the property.
The Court of Appeal cited previous case law that there must be a sound basis to believe the anti-social behaviour will cease.
The judge had correctly considered whether Mr Qasim would stay away from the property given his history of drug abuse and dealing, knowing the consequences for his family.
The answer was no.
Furthermore, the judge had no confidence in Mrs Begum’s ability to keep him away from the property.
In relation to the children, the Court of Appeal dismissed this argument finding the judge had given full weight to their interests, especially the younger, ‘innocent children’.
The Court of Appeal has demonstrated that where judges exercise their discretion appropriately it will not interfere with their decision.
Dorota Pawlowski is senior associate of Trowers & Hamlins