Outrage as BBC editor paid to help gang rapist avoid being deported to Somalia

A BBC editor has prompted outrage after it was revealed she had been hired to help a gang rapist avoid deportation to Somalia.

BBC Africa editor, Mary Harper, 58, was taken on as an expert witness in the immigration trial of Yaqub Ahmed, who had been jailed for nine years along with three others for his role in the gang rape of a 16-year-old girl in London.

Ahmed, 34, had been served with deportation papers in 2018, but passengers on the plane taking him out of the country stopped the flight.

Ms Harper was then taken on as an expert witness in a later trial where she argued he would be punished by the terror group Al-Shabaab if they found out about the attack, adding that the country’s security forces may try to accuse him of being a British spy and it might be hard for him to find work.

Ahmed was eventually returned to Somalia in August following a legal battle costing £1m.

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She appeared at his West London trial and presented written reports, with her evidence appearing to support Ahmed’s appeal that deporting him was incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

Those acting as expert witnesses can be paid up to £2,500 per report in Legal Aid-funded cases like Ahmed’s plus £800 a day if they appear in person.

The BBC said there was nothing in its editorial guidelines stopping its staff acting as expert witnesses.

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Ahmed’s victim told The Sun: “Our legal system is a joke.

“We used to say we were quite fair. We’re not.

“Nothing about this has been fair.”

The case is only now being reported as Ahmed was granted 15 weeks of anonymity following his deportation, while his lawyers, Ronan Toal, Ubah Dirie and Stephanie Harrison, even tried to keep their own names secret.

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