Unification News for April 2005

Appeal hearing in London on True Father's appeal against being banned from Britain

Mark Brann

Rev. and Mrs Song, our two Vice-Presidents, Mr Hasimoto and Tim Miller, Rev Peter Zoehrer and Tim Read as National Leader of Britain together with a total of about 25 other brothers and sisters packed the tiny Immigration Appeal court room in Central London.

The morning (2 1/2 hours) was taken up with the presentation of our case by David Pannick. It was clear and powerful and the judges listened very attentively and respectfully, occasionally asking thoughtful and open-minded questions and listening intently and respectfully to his interpretation of the law. They came across to us as objective, balanced and fair minded and David Panniclk felt so himself.

From their comments it seemed clear they felt that Father's case had been handled unfairly and badly by the government (the second key contention in our case if you remember). However about our first point (as to whether British courts can even hear an appeal) they did not express a clear view. We appealed on the grounds that Father's Human Rights had been violated (the only possible appeal channel open to us) but the goverment had argued Human Rights did not apply because Father was outside the Court's jurisdiction at the relevant times and there was not a close enough connection to Britain merely through the Seoul Embassy having dealt with his application (as we had contented) to show that the British goverment had exercised jursidiction over him, thus bringing his Human Rights (and right to appeal) into play.

The problem for the judges is that there are indicators both ways in the decided cases. They may not feel that they are a high enough court to resolve and reconcile the conflicting authorities. We will see. They will only give their judgement in a few weeks time after a period of discussion among themselves and after the President has had a chance to write it.

When it came to the government's case (2 hours in the afternoon) their lawyer was challenged quite strongly by the judges and doubt cast on her propositions. Many times the judges interrupted her with sceptical questions and she gave the clear impression of being given a hard time.

Finally at the end David Pannick was able to answer many of the government's points, which he did very effectively and clearly.

So, we are cautiously optimistic of a positive outcome but must wait patiently until a verdict is given. However, in the meantime as Rev Song has stated, we must take nothing for granted and keep up our serious Cheon Song conditions to create the right spiritual atmosphere during the period of the judges' deliberations.

There are theoretically a number of possible outcomes. One, of course, is outright victory - whereby the judges could find that Father's Human Rights were engaged (and hence that he had a right of appeal) and that the way that the case was decided was a violation of those rights. In that case the court could just order that Father be allowed to come. We could of course still lose on both points of our appeal, especially if we take anything for granted and lessen the intensity of our "cheon song". A third (in between) possibility is that the court finds against us on the technical/jurisdictional/human rights point, but for us on the point of whether the case was unfairly decided. In that event, we could either appeal to the higher court to resolve the first point in our favour or go back to the government and negotiate for Father to be allowed to come in return for us not appealing and, most probably, winning the first point against the government. The government might be interested in such a deal because a succsful appeal by us on our first point would have far reaching and difficult consequences for them in many other cases.

The overall feeling from the day was quite positive, but I must emphasise again that we need to keep going with all of our efforts till the final moment (when the decision is given) to give us the best chance of the fullest possible victory.

Again, many thanks to you all for everything you have done to put us in sight of victory.

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