- They paedophiles preyed on girls as young as 13 during a sickening operation
- Shabir Ahmed, Abdul Aziz, Adil Khan and Abdul Rauf are fighting deportation
- They have received close to a million pounds after getting the same for their trial
- By contrast Charlie Gard's parents were denied aid to fight to keep their son alive
Shabir Ahmed, 64 – the ringleader of the Rochdale child sex gang was given £249,707 to clear his name
Members of an Asian grooming gang are being given legal aid to fight deportation – after it emerged they have already received more than a £1million to unsuccessfully defend criminal charges.
There was outrage last night as it was revealed the paedophiles – who preyed on girls as young as 13 – are getting more taxpayers’ money to battle moves to strip them of their British passports and send them back to Pakistan.
The case is particularly sickening because, despite the depraved nature of their crimes, the men are trying to exploit Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights – which safeguards the right to family life.
The four – who raped, abused and tormented young girls – claim booting them out of the country will harm their families.
Shabir Ahmed, 64 – the ringleader of the Rochdale child sex gang – Abdul Aziz, Adil Khan and Abdul Rauf all received hundreds of thousands of pounds in legal aid at their original trial.
By contrast, Chris Gard and Connie Yates were denied any legal aid in their case against Great Ormond Street Hospital to take sick 11-month-old son Charlie to the US for experimental therapy.
Victims of the IRA Hyde Park bomb attack have also been refused legal aid to fund a private prosecution against chief suspect John Downey, 64, who is accused of murdering four soldiers and injuring 31 in the July 1982 atrocity.
David Spencer, of the Centre For Crime Prevention think-tank, said: ‘These men have been convicted of some truly abhorrent offences and it beggars belief that they are now able to run up even bigger taxpayer-funded bills making spurious appeals in an effort to extend their stay in the UK.
‘These men clearly pose a threat to public safety. If someone is born overseas and commit such crimes in the UK, it is absolutely right that their citizenship should be revoked.’
Abdul Aziz, 41, known as 'The Master' (left) and Adil Khan (right), 42, who went by the name Billy, were given £195,277 and £282,289 respectively
Tory MP Philip Davies, a former member of the Commons’ Justice Select Committee, said: ‘These are astronomical sums and it will rightly appal people who will think the money could be better spent on the justice system rather than subsidising paedophiles chancing their arms on staying in the country.’
The four Pakistani men were convicted in May 2012 of preying on girls in Rochdale, plying them with drink and drugs before they were ‘passed around’ for sex.
Ahmed was given a 19-year sentence for conspiracy, two rapes, aiding and abetting rape, sexual assault and sex trafficking.
The others were given terms of between six and nine years and are already back on the streets after being released from jail.
Figures released to the Daily Mail under the Freedom of Information Act show that they billed the taxpayer £1,009,645 for their unsuccessful court battle.
Abdul Rauf has received £282,370 to fight deportation
Ahmed was granted £249,707, Rauf £282,370, Khan £282,289 and Aziz £195,277.
But the figures are set to rise as three of the men are spending tens of thousands of pounds paying lawyers working on their bid to beat deportation.
The gang appealed in the civil courts against Theresa May’s decision as Home Secretary to strip the dual-nationals of their British citizenship as a prelude to deportation proceedings.It emerged that Aziz, 46, Khan, 47, and Rauf, 48, had secured legal aid for this challenge.
In February, Britain’s most senior immigration judge Mr Justice McCloskey, president of the Upper Immigration Tribunal, rejected the human rights grounds on which the men based their appeals. But they have now been granted permission to continue their fight at the Court of Appeal – meaning the case could drag on.
Divorced father-of-four Ahmed, a takeaway worker, used his trial to launch a series of tirades, including one in which he tried to blame Western society for allowing young girls to ‘parade on the streets’ where they could be preyed on by men such as him.
Last year he lost a bid to overturn his convictions using human rights laws. He had taken his case to the European Court of Human Rights, claiming his convictions for child sex offences were a conspiracy by police and the jury to ‘scapegoat’ Muslims.
Mark Tipper, whose younger brother Trooper Simon Tipper was one of four soldiers murdered in the Hyde Park blast in July 1982, said the legal aid payments were ‘disgraceful’. Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Ed Davey said: ‘This shows the legal aid system is broken and urgently needs to be fixed.’
In criminal cases, a person cannot receive legal aid if their household incomes is more than £37,500. For civil cases, they cannot receive if they earn more than £31,884 in pre-tax income or have at least £8,796 in disposable income and £8,000 savings and assets.
Earlier this week it was revealed hate preacher Anjem Choudary received more than £140,000 in legal aid in his bid to dodge prison for gathering support for Islamic State.