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BBC Scotland's Morag Kinniburgh reports
"The centre said Jack Straw's decision sent out the wrong message"
 real 28k

Aileen Clarke reports for BBC Scotland
"There seems little doubt now that Mike Tyson will fight at Hampden"
 real 28k

Friday, 2 June, 2000, 16:55 GMT 17:55 UK
Tyson visa challenge fails
Tyson training
Mike Tyson faces an opponent of a different kind
A judge in Scotland has rejected an attempt to overturn the decision to allow Mike Tyson into the UK for a boxing match in Glasgow.

The Glasgow Rape Crisis Centre sought a judicial review of the issue of a visa to Tyson, a convicted rapist, by Home Secretary, Jack Straw.

But after hearing from both sides at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, the judge, Lord Clarke, supported Mr Straw's decision.


They must realise there are better ways of achieving their goals than using Mike Tyson as a punchbag

Frank Warren, promoter
The judge said he would outline his decision in more detail at a later date.

Promoter, Frank Warren, said he was delighted with the outcome but "had sympathy for the causes the pressure groups support".

He added: "They must realise there are better ways of achieving their goals than using Mike Tyson as a punchbag."

The hearing was the latest episode in the controversy over the boxer being allowed into Britain for the bout with American Lou Savarese at Hampden Park on 24 June.

Political opposition

Women's groups and many MSPs and MPs have opposed the decision to allow the boxer a visa for the second time, after his last leave to enter the UK was described by Mr Straw as a "one-off".

At least 40,000 tickets have already been sold for the bout, which is expected to attract a total of 60,000 people.

Rape crisis centre representatives said the judgement was a setback but their campaign would go on.

Sandy Brindley
Sandy Brindley: "Extremely disappointed"
Centre worker, Sandy Brindley, said: "We are disappointed that the petition failed to overturn the home secretary's decision.

"We do feel however it was important to go through the process and challenge what we saw as economic considerations being placed above the trauma experienced by women who suffer from sexual violence."

Ms Brindley said the centre's legal team had been working on a no win no fee basis but if either the home secretary or fight promoters pressed for costs, it would face financial difficulties.

"It was a difficult decision to make because of the resources we have. But we felt it was an important thing to do," she said.

Protest planned

"We had been contacted by a number of women expressing concern and upset. It was important to raise the issue of violence against women.

"What we hope to do is to try and make sure that this never happens again.

"We are again concerned by reports that there is a third fight planned with Mike Tyson later in the year."

She added women's groups were planning some form of protest during Tyson's stay in Scotland, though she would not give details.

Hampden Park
Hampden Park: 40,000 tickets already sold
However, fight supporter, Jimmy Wray, Labour MP for Glasgow Baillieston, said the call for a judicial review was always going to fail.

He said: "I always thought this would be turned down, it was a piece of nonsense.

"The rape crisis centre has done more harm than good for their cause. The money it took to do this could have been used in far better ways.

"This whole thing has been turned into a political football and it is a disgrace."

Fight promoter, Frank Warren, said he was "absolutely delighted" by the decision.

He said: "This was the second time that pressure groups have tried to use the courts to hinder promotions featuring Mike Tyson and on both occasions they have failed," said Mr Warren.

Reasons made clear

"While we had sympathy for the causes the pressure group's support, they must now realise that there are better ways of achieving their goals than using Mike Tyson as their punchbag."

A Home Office spokeswoman refused to comment on the failed attempt to overturn Mr Straw's ruling, but said: "The home secretary made the reasons for his decision very clear at the time and we have nothing to add to that."

Colin Tyre QC, for the home secretary had told the court there was nothing in the law which obliged the home secretary to listen to opinion on the Tyson matter.

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See also:

21 May 00 | Scotland
Straw in private Tyson talks
22 May 00 | Scotland
Tyson fight gets dirty
20 May 00 | Scotland
Tyson ticket hotline inundated
19 May 00 | Scotland
Women plan Tyson 'confrontation'
19 May 00 | Scotland
Hampden named as Tyson venue
18 May 00 | Scotland
Tyson cleared for UK fight
11 Jan 00 | Sport
The life of Iron Mike
18 May 00 | Scotland
Full text of Straw's decision
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