BBC Africa Editor Under Scrutiny for Expert Witness Role in Deportation Appeals

BBC Africa Editor Under Scrutiny for Expert Witness Role in Deportation Appeals

In a startling revelation, it has been uncovered that Mary Harper, the Africa Editor for the BBC World Service, served as an expert witness in deportation appeals for at least 15 Somali criminals, including notorious offenders.

This revelation comes after previous exposure of Harper’s involvement in providing expert witness evidence for Somali gang rapist Yaqub Ahmed.

The BBC now faces questions about impartiality as Harper’s extensive role as an expert witness is brought to light.

Controversial Deportation Appeals:

Harper’s involvement in a series of deportation appeals by Somali offenders raises concerns about her objectivity.

The cases include appeals by three sex attackers, three drug dealers, and a career criminal with a decade-long history in British jails.

Notably, Harper was paid to provide expert witness evidence for Ahmed during his protracted legal battle to remain in the UK.

Shocking Cases and Contradictions:

One of the most disturbing instances involves Harper’s warning that a Somali man who sexually assaulted a deaf teenager would face ‘severely heightened risk’ if deported to Somalia.

Despite her plea, a judge rejected the appeal, yet the attacker remains in the UK 16 months later.

The report also details cases where Harper’s warnings about potential risks in Somalia were contradicted by court decisions.

BBC’s Impartiality in Question:

Harper’s dual role as a BBC editor and expert witness has raised concerns about the broadcaster’s impartiality.

Tory deputy chairman Rachel Maclean MP expressed astonishment at the number of immigration cases involving Harper and called for a review of BBC guidelines.

The revelation follows recent controversies involving asylum grants to individuals with criminal convictions.

Questionable Expertise and Criticisms:

Harper’s expert reports and evidence have faced scrutiny from judges, with some questioning her objectivity.

In one instance, her information, which she attributed to a terrorist source, was revealed to be obtained from an office cleaner.

Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith highlighted the astonishing nature of judges questioning her evidence based on impartiality, raising broader concerns about the BBC.

Harper’s Background and Departure from BBC:

Educated at £42,000-a-year Bedales School in Hampshire, Harper became the BBC Africa Editor in 2009.

She has been providing expert witness evidence in immigration cases for at least a decade, with ties to the law firm Wilson Solicitors.

Despite requests, Harper and the BBC have not disclosed the amount she was paid for her expert witness role.

The MoS investigation concludes with the revelation that Harper is set to leave the BBC, leaving questions about the circumstances of her departure.


The uncovered involvement of a BBC editor in immigration cases as an expert witness has sparked concerns about journalistic impartiality.

As the controversy unfolds, questions linger about the BBC’s oversight and guidelines regarding external roles taken on by its staff.

Harper’s departure adds a new dimension to the ongoing scrutiny, leaving the BBC to address the implications of this revelation on its reputation for fairness and objectivity.

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