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Australian boat race protester wins appeal to stay in the UK

Posted on December  10 , 2013

An Australian citizen living in the UK, who disrupted a UK university boat race and risked deportation has won his appeal to stay in the UK.

Trenton Oldfield, an Australian from Sydney who has lived in the UK for more than ten years, faced deportation after he disrupted the Oxford and Cambridge University boat race last year by jumping into the water in front of the two crews as a form of protest against elitism. He was sent to prison for six months for causing public disturbance as he stopped the annual historic event for about half an hour.

Oldfield successfully appealed the Home Secretary Theresa May’s decision to deny him his partner visa from the UK on the grounds that his presence was “not conducive to the public good”.

Oldfield is married to a British woman (of Indian descent) and has lived in the UK since 2001. Trenton Oldfield had told the court he believed his wife would face racism in Australia if his family (wife and  baby) were forced to move there.

His appeal was supported by more than 250 signatures from students and staff of Oxford and Cambridge.

Two professors gave evidence that Oldfield’s work as an activist and independent publisher added to the debate about inequality. A further 23 people wrote character references and were present at the tribunal.

Oldfield’s lawyer, Stephanie Harrison QC, insisted the 2012 protest was an isolated incident. “It won’t be repeated, he has learned his lesson,” she said.

Oldfield said when he disrupted the boat race he’d recently returned from Canada after seven months caring for his father-in-law who was dying from cancer and was upset that wealthier people could afford better drugs and have a better quality of life.

Immigration tribunal Judge Kevin Moore, in overturning the deportation order, said Oldfield was an asset to Britain.  While he did not yet give full reasons for his decision, the judge indicated a positive result for Oldfield. “There is no doubt in my view to your character and commitment and the value you are to UK society generally,” the judge said. “It would be my intention to allow your appeal.”