Asylum seeker who won right to live in UK after Lib Dem MP’s campaign now facing prison over sex attack

An asylum seeker who avoided deportation after a public campaign headed by an MP is facing jail after admitting sexual assault.
Sri Lankan-born Sivarajah Suganthan spent 37 days in a detention centre before being allowed to remain in the UK thanks to Liberal Democrat Stephen Williams.
Mr Williams lobbied then-immigration minister Damian Green to grant him asylum and presented an 800-name petition to Parliament calling for the deportation threats to end.
Suganthan, 31, went to live with friends in Bristol in 2011, but three years later he sexually abused a 21-year-old woman while staying at a night shelter.
He was to face trial at Bristol Crown Court, but pleaded guilty to sexual assault by penetration.
Anjali Gohil, defending, said the guilty plea was on a full facts basis.
Record Peter Towler ordered a pre-sentence report and adjourned the case for sentence on September 14.
He told Suganthan: “I won’t be the sentencing judge. I would have thought a custodial sentence is inevitable.”
The offence of sexual assault by penetration has a sentencing guideline ranging from a community order to 19 years in prison, depending on how it is categorised.
Suganthan, a father of two, was bailed on condition he has no contact with the complainant and co-operates with the writing of the report.
When Suganthan was released from detention in 2011, Caroline Beatty, manager of the Refugee Welcome Centre, said: “We wanted to thank Mr Williams for his help and are sure that it was his intervention that meant Siva was released.
“We are hoping that we can count on his support in the future when he makes his fresh claim.”
Mr Williams, MP for Bristol West, said at the time: “It was wonderful to meet Siva in person and to see that he was happy and smiling and delighted to be back among friends in Bristol.
“I am pleased that I and my staff were able to be of help.”
Suganthan came to the UK in 1999 at the age of 14. His initial claim for asylum was refused in 2003, and dismissed a second time in 2004 following an appeal.

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