Snoop Dogg: US rapper wins £100,000 legal fight to visit Britain
The controversial American rapper, Snoop Dogg, has won an expensive legal battle against the British government, after it tried to ban him from visiting the country.
The Home Office last week failed in its three year fight to prevent the 38 year-old from entering the country following a brawl at Heathrow Airport in May 2006.
In an embarrassing defeat, estimated to have cost the taxpayer more than £100,000 (€110,000) the rapper, real name Cordozar Calvin Broadus Jr, successfully argued any ban breached his human right to freedom of expression.
Officials had argued it was in the public interest, claiming that because some of his fans were on the fringes of gang culture the singer risked provoking violent crime.
The rapper, who was told of the decision on Monday, is now considering whether to reapply for his visa although due to his existing criminal convictions could still be refused entry.
The case has been running over several years since authorities denied him a tour visa in 2007, after the former pimp and five members of his 30-strong entourage were arrested for violent disorder following the mass brawl.
During the incident Snoop and his team, most of whom had economy tickets, reportedly trashed the British Airways VIP lounge when refused entry and were asked to leave and return to the public area.
His subsequent, request was rejected, a day before he was due to join fellow rapper Sean "Diddy" Combs in the UK to speak to young black teenagers at an event organised in response to a spate of gang shootings.
It also forced him to cancel the British dates of their European tour.
After appealing, an immigration judge, Nehar Bird, found there was no evidence the rapper had been responsible for any public disorder and ruled that authorities had failed to show why any ban was in the public interest.
That decision was then challenged by the UK Border Agency, and after High Court judge ruled that a mistake was made, ordered another hearing at an Asylum and Immigration Tribunal.
Last week during a two-day hearing, two senior immigration judges studied evidence, including CCTV of the incident.
That footage of the Heathrow incident apparently proved that Snoop was in fact pushed twice by a police officer whilst trying to speak with young children.
While he did not retaliate, the incident quickly spiralled out of control, with some of his entourage smashing bottles and throwing punches. The brawl left seven police officers injured.
According to reports at the time, Snoop was compliant when arrested and was a model of co-operation with the police.
The court was told that any ban affected the rapper’s right under Article Ten of the Human Rights Act, to freedom of expression.
In their judgement, the court ruled that border authorities were wrong to deny him entry.
"We are disappointed by the tribunal's decision in this case," said a spokesman for the UK Border Agency.
"We are studying the determination carefully and will take a decision whether to appeal."
The government has until Wednesday to appeal the decision.
The performer has had a series of brushes with the law in recent years.
In 2007 he pleaded no contest to gun and drugs charges in the United States.
The same year he was barred from entering Australia after failing a character test.
Last year the rapper was cleared of hitting a fan who jumped on stage during an American concert in Seattle in 2005, despite his record company being ordered to pay damages.
But coming to public attention in the late 1990s, he has become involved in singing, record producing and acting.
The rapper has released 10 albums and recently appeared on the re-recorded version of We Are The World for victims of the Haiti earthquake.
He has since worked with some of the world’s most famous artists including Warren G, Coolio, Justin Timberlake and Pharrell Williams, while providing cameo roles in hit films such as Starsky & Hutch.
His case is one of several in recent years when sportsmen, musicians, artists, political radicals, and religious leaders have all been refused entry to Britain in recent years.
The foreign-born relatives of high-profile British names, including author Ben Elton and former Tory leader Michael Howard, have also been refused.
Among the sportsmen, footballers appear to be the most commonly refused.