Boat Race protester wins deportation appeal

12:28, Dec 10 2013

A protester who jumped into the River Thames to disrupt last year's Oxbridge Boat Race has won his appeal against deportation after arguing that his British-Indian wife would face racism if the family had to move back to his native Australia.

Trenton Oldfield, 37, was jailed after he swam into the path of rowing crews during the 158th Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race, in a protest against what he sees as the deepening inequality of British society.

Oldfield, a community worker who served six weeks of a six-month prison sentence for committing a public nuisance, faced deportation after Home Secretary Theresa May ruled he should be sent back to his native Australia at the end of his sentence.

But yesterday an immigration tribunal judge ruled that May's decision had been flawed.

In court, Oldfield had described Australia as racist and argued that his wife would face persecution there.

He has lived in Britain since 2001 with his wife, a British citizen of Indian descent. The couple have a five-month-old daughter.

Last year a survey by Australia's Monash University found that Indians were particularly singled out for racist abuse following a spate of attacks on foreign students.

Oldfield dramatically emerged beside the Oxford crew's boat halfway through the race on the Thames last year. Clad in a wetsuit, he narrowly avoided being hit by an oar before being picked up by a police boat. The race was eventually won by Cambridge.

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Reuters