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Boat Race protester wins appeal hearing to stay in UK

AN Australian activist who risked deportation for disrupting last year's Oxford v Cambridge Boat Race has said he is delighted he was able to convince an immigration judge to let him stay in the country.

Trenton Oldfield, 37, who has lived in the UK for 10 years, earlier this year had his application for a spousal visa refused after serving six months in jail for the stunt.

The Home Office deemed Mr Oldfield's presence in the country was "undesirable" given his April 2012 disruption of the famous sporting event to protest against what he described as "entrenched elitism" in the UK.

But during an appeal hearing at the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal in Islington, immigration judge Kevin Moore said he intended to allow Mr Oldfield's appeal.

Mr Oldfield told reporters outside the appeal he was glad it was finally over.

He thanked his supporters, but said the public interest surrounding the case should highlight the problems surrounding deportation threats.

"What I would like to say is this happens every single day in this building to all sorts of people and we need to start paying attention to these people who are experiencing what can be quite a violent experience of having the state come down on you," he said.

Mr Oldfield's application relied partly on his claim that Australia was a racist country and his British-born wife Deepa Naik, who is of Indian descent, and his five-month-old daughter would be discriminated against if they were forced to move back with him.

Mr Oldfield, who works with his wife in not-for-profit organisations, said he regretted many aspects of his protest, particularly the impact it had on his family and he would not be repeating his actions.

There were 23 people at the tribunal willing to give positive evidence in favour of Mr Oldfield.

However, the judge only heard from a few, including an Oxford professor who said Mr Oldfield's work to help end inequality was a benefit to British society.

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