Document reveals snapshot of crimes of immigration detainees implicated by High Court ruling

The details of offences committed by some of the detainees ordered to be released from detention have been detailed in a High Court document.(Supplied: Getty images)

crimes of immigration

Some of the 93 people affected by a recent High Court ruling on indefinite detention, and labelled as serious criminals by the federal opposition, had already been released from detention facilities at the time of the judgement.

New details have emerged about the nature of crimes committed by some of the group, in documents published by the High Court on Tuesday.

They include a man who was convicted of sexual assault against a 12-year-old girl, a man convicted of rape who is also on a United States sex offenders registry, a man convicted of assault for punching his eight-month-old daughter, and a number of individuals convicted of drug smuggling.

Another person is of interest to the nation’s domestic spy agency ASIO and had been in immigration detention for 13 years – the longest of the cohort affected by the High Court judgement – despite having no convictions in Australia.

The documents do not provide details for why all 93 members of the group were in immigration detention after having their visas cancelled, but provides a summary of those with “more serious offences and their length of time in immigration detention”.

Who were some of the detainees affected by the High Court’s ruling?

  • Person A, sentenced to 22 years for the murder of his wife but served 18 years, in immigration detention for four years
  • Person B, sentenced to three years for people smuggling, in immigration detention for 11 years
  • Person C, multiple prison sentences including one for 10 months for punching his eight-month-old daughter, in immigration detention for nine years
  • Person D, no Australian convictions but has been of interest to ASIO, in immigration detention for 13 years
  • Person E, sentenced to three years and four months for trafficking a controlled drug, in immigration detention for two years
  • Person F, sentenced to 11 years for people smuggling, in immigration detention for two years and nine months
  • Person G sentenced to four years and six months for rape, false imprisonment and indecent assault, in immigration detention for five years

The briefing papers show that 21 people were subject to what is referred to as a “residence determination” in four states, which is where someone in immigration detention is permitted to live at a specific address in the community.

One of those people is a man who had been charged with indecent assault in 2012 and fined $2,000.

He had been in immigration detention for 12 years, before being put under a residence determination by the former Morrison government.

“These are people that were released over the last few years, and that includes under the former Coalition government and also under the current government,” human rights lawyer David Manne told the ABC’s Afternoon Briefing.

“They’re largely free to live in the community, generally with reporting requirements, sometimes with a number of other conditions.”

Another man, not named in the documents but identified in media reporting as Sirul Azhar Umar, is wanted by Malaysian officials for murdering a pregnant woman in 2006.

He was convicted in absentia and sentenced to the death penalty – prompting a stalemate in his case, as Australia cannot deport people to face capital punishment in their homeland.

Earlier this month, the High Court ruled in favour of a Rohingya man who had been in immigration detention since completing a sentence for child sex offences.

The man could not be deported to Myanmar, as a member of a persecuted minority, and no other countries would resettle him.

The court ruled indefinite detention for individuals with no prospect of deportation was unlawful, prompting the release of more than 90 people into the community.

Last week, the federal government rushed emergency legislation through parliament imposing strict conditions on the cohort, including allowing for the use of ankle bracelets and curfews to monitor their movements.

David Manne suggested the group of 21 who had already been in the community under residence determinations could seek to challenge those new powers.

“To have these kinds of restrictions imposed on them, severe deprivations of liberty, when the High Court has just ruled that it is unlawful and unconstitutional to deprive people indefinitely of their liberty … a blanket imposition of these kinds of conditions, without any proper assessment of risk, indiscriminately and indefinitely is a profound concern,” he said.

“That raises very serious legal questions for consideration – considerations around handing powers of this kind to the government of the day through these new laws, which are essentially extra-judicial powers, which are in some respects a copy and paste of control orders which are usually used in the most extreme circumstances for people who’ve been convicted of terrorist offences, and are considered by independent scrutiny of the court and only by independent scrutiny of the court, to be a threat.”

Eighteen members of the group had spent eight or more years in immigration detention.

The documents show the Immigration Minister Andrew Giles had agreed the Home Affairs Department should review some of the cases prior to the High Court’s ruling.

They included people assessed to be “low risk of harm to the community”, detainees “confirmed to be stateless”, and those who have been “held in immigration detention for five years or more”.

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Written by colinnew

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