Kimbengere Gosoge: First ex-detainee to be jailed for breaching visa conditions also released

Emily Moulton
The Nightly
3 Min Read
Kimbengere Gosoge was one of 152 non-citizens released from immigration detention as the result of a High Court decision in November that ruled it was illegal to hold stateless individuals indefinitely.
Kimbengere Gosoge was one of 152 non-citizens released from immigration detention as the result of a High Court decision in November that ruled it was illegal to hold stateless individuals indefinitely. Credit: Bill Hatto/The Nightly

A former immigration detainee who breached his curfew and failed to charge his ankle monitor has become the first person to be sentenced for the offences — however, he will be released back into the community.

Kimbengere Gosoge was one of 152 non-citizens released from immigration detention as the result of a High Court decision in November that ruled it was illegal to hold stateless individuals indefinitely.

As part of their new visa conditions, a number of the former detainees — including Gosoge — were subjected to curfews as well as electronic monitoring.

Sign up to The Nightly's newsletters.

Get the first look at the digital newspaper, curated daily stories and breaking headlines delivered to your inbox.

Email Us
By continuing you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.

However, the 42-year-old breached his curfew five times between April 26 and May 1 and also failed to keep the electronic monitoring device he was fitted with — after offending not long after his release — charged.

He pleaded guilty to those charges in Perth Magistrates Court on Tuesday and is the first of those released to be sentenced for breaching any of the 22 conditions imposed on him.

During his sentencing hearing, it was revealed the 42-year-old had a lengthy criminal record since arriving in Australia in 2002 including an 18-month stint in jail for aggravated burglary, assault and breaching a restraining order in 2008.

He has also been convicted of Centrelink overpayments and stealing a motor vehicle.

It was also revealed not long after he was released following the High Court decision, that Gosoge was charged with trespass and drug possession.

In handing down his decision, Magistrate Robert Young said the fact his visa had been cancelled on the basis of bad character was “self-evident” by his prior record.

He said it was concerning that a few months after his release in November that he offended again — he has been charged with aggravated home burglary and will next appear in Joondalup Magistrates Court on June 7 — and then breached his visa conditions.

And while he acknowledged his difficult background, and that it must have been traumatic Mr Young said it did not mitigate his offending.

Earlier the court was told he fled his native Burundi with his younger brother after their father was killed in the civil war.

After arriving via cargo ship at the Kwinana bulk terminal, the brothers spent six months in detention before being granted visas.

Tragically, his brother drowned at the beach two weeks after they were granted their visas.

Mr Young also said his time in immigration detention did not carry weight for the offences he committed and were just part of the overall background.

Earlier, Gosoge’s lawyer, Rhys Mola, pleaded for the court to take “mercy” on his client saying he experienced six years of unlawful detention and criticised the “draconian” measures put in place by the Federal Government claiming they “seemingly demonised a minority group”.

He also argued his client’s offences were at the lower end of the scale and that not all former immigration detainees were “rapists, paedophiles, murderers, armed robbers, serial fraudsters or have psychological deficits”.

And he argued his client posed no “greater risk” of re-offending than any other Australian citizen who served their time.

The court was told the maximum penalty for the offence was a mandatory minimum of 12 months in jail.

Mr Young took into account Gosoge’s offending was at the lower end, that his offending was over a short period —the court was told he stayed at his girlfriend’s home three times and missed his curfew twice by roughly an hour — and that he didn’t try to flee or remove his ankle monitor.

He also took into account his guilty plea.

However, he did not accept Gosoge’s explanation that he felt unsafe in his Guildford accommodation and that was why he stayed “elsewhere”.

Mr Young said part of his visa conditions was to abide by the rules, reside at the address provided and to make sure the ankle monitor was charged.

He sentenced Gosoge to 12 months but said having regard to mitigation and the nature of the order that he be released on a recognisance order of $2000 and that it be in place for two years, which effectively means he was granted a suspended sentence.

He also noted the Commonwealth did not oppose or support Gosoge being released on recognisance.

Latest Edition

The front page of The Nightly for 21-06-2024

Latest Edition

Edition Edition 21 June 202421 June 2024

Australians deprived of seeing Historic World Cup moment by dodgy TV laws.