Unification News for July 2005

Result of True Father's Immigration Appeal in London

Dearest European Brothers and Sisters,

Warm greetings to you from London as, together, we enter the second half of this fifth year of Cheon Il Guk.

We have just received the long awaited decision in True Father's Appeal hearing of March 14 last and I am happy to tell you that it contains some very good news, even though it is not the outright decision ordering that Father be allowed to enter Britain, that ideally we would have wanted. It is, though, a huge step forward which opens up the real possibility that True Father will soon be able to come. This needs some more detailed explanation as it is not totally straightforward. So please bear with me.

The judges said they did not feel able to order that Father should be allowed to come only because they did not have the legal power to do so due to technical limitations on the jurisdiction of the tribunal. However, they stated plainly that had they had that power they would have exercised it in True Father's favour and would have ordered that he be allowed to enter Britain. They also made clear that both the Home Secretary and the judge in the first appeal had made serious errors in the way that they had looked at the case, to such an extent that this was one of the very rare cases in which the judiciary would be justified in interfering in a government minister's decision. Finally, they pointed to a way in which the matter might be resolved in Father's favour by initiating a separate legal case based on violation of the members' rights in preventing them access to their leader rather than, as previously, violation of Father's own rights. Very likely their decision was crafted with the unstated intention of opening the way for a negotiated settlement in ways which it may not be helpful to go into at this point, but which we will definitely pursue.

To understand where the judges are coming from and where their decision leaves the whole matter, it is necessary to go back and remind ourselves of what the key issues in the case were. You will probably recall from previous explanations that there were two key issues that needed to be resolved in the case.

The first issue was the purely technical one of whether the Human Rights guaranteed by the European Convention that defines them applied to someone in Father's situation - who was at all material times outside of Britain. All kinds of technical and creative arguments were considered that might have enabled the judges to find that in spite of Father not being in Britain when the decision against him was made, the Convention on Human Rights could still have applied. However, in the final analysis the tribunal did not feel able to find that there was jurisdiction to apply the Convention and therefore Father could not claim its protection. This is a very complicated and difficult legal point and the difficulties it presented the court were real enough and not born of any hostile attitude. Also, it needs to be born in mind that this tribunal is relatively low in the hierarchy of the court system and that to have taken a decision in Father's favour on this point would have meant suggesting that several decisions by courts higher than itself were wrong. Such a course would have taken real boldness. It is for this reason that David Pannick, Father's advocate, has always warned us that it might only be in one of the very highest courts (such as the next level, the Court of Appeal) that this point could finally be decided in our favour.

The second issue concerned the actual merits of the case and whether it had been properly and fairly decided. On this point the judges decided decisively and strongly in Father's favour, saying that both the government minister responsible and the first judge had got it badly wrong - preferring old, out of date anecdotal testimony from anti-cultists to that of leading objective academics like Prof. Eileen Barker and Dr Bryan WIlson, who were real experts, well informed and up to date. They also said that the first judge had shown far too much deference to the government minister who had taken the original decision. This is a very embarrassing decision for the government in that it makes clear that the government is justified in excluding Father only by a technicality and not by anything he (or we) are alleged to have done wrong. The prejudice and discrimination inherent in the decision to exclude Father is thus made quietly obvious.

This decision opens up the real possibility of some kind of a negotiated settlement which would bring the litigation to an end. You will understand that it might not be helpful for me to go into any level of detail here which could prejudice delicate negotiations. Additionally, I would ask everyone to be both wise and discrete about discussing the case so as not to risk prejudicing the possibilities of a speedy resolution.

The key point is I think that we sustain our focus, keep up our "cheong sung" in whatever form we are guided to do so by our leaders and renew our strong determination to bring ultimate victory through continuing to build a strong European foundation. Ultimate victory is surely now in sight provided we do not lose our focus.

I want to offer my truly heartfelt thanks to all of you who have contributed to our getting to this point through your constant conditions and unrelenting support on so many levels, including your generous financial contributions, so many of which came from countries other than Britain itself. As I have said before, it is really all of you who have made the foundation for the progress made to date and you who give hope of the ultimate victory that is surely now but a heartbeat away.

Thank you so much and may heaven bless you abundantly!

Sincerely, Mark Brann

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