London, Oct 18 (ANI): An immigrant in Britain, who was about to be deported, has been allowed to stay in the country after a court ruled in his favour - just because he and his girlfriend had bought a pet cat.
The Asylum and Immigration Tribunal ruled that sending the Bolivian man back to his homeland would breach his human rights because he was entitled to a "private and family life".
The court said that the joint ownership of a pet was evidence that he was fully settled in this country.
However, the decision by immigration judge James Devittie to allow the immigrant to stay in Britain did not go down too well with lawyers for the Home Secretary.
They lodged an appeal, but their case was again rejected.
The Bolivian's identity has not been disclosed and even the name of the pet cat was blanked out in official court papers to protect its privacy.
The ruling is believed to have cost the taxpayer several thousand pounds.
Delivering her decision on the case, Judith Gleeson, a senior immigration judge, joked in the official written ruling that the cat "need no longer fear having to adapt to Bolivian mice".
Barry O'Leary, solicitor for the Bolivian, said that the court was told that the man and his girlfriend had purchased the animal together, and it was therefore "one detail among many" that they were in a committed relationship.
"As part of the application and as part of the appeal, the couple gave detailed statements of the life they had built together in the UK to show the genuine nature and duration of their relationship," the Telegraph quoted him as saying.
"One detail provided, among many, was that they had owned a cat together for some time.
"The appeal was successful and when giving the reasons for the success the judge did comment on the couple's cat. It was taken into account as part of the couple's life together," he added. (ANI)