Lawyer for ex-immigration detainee Kimbengere Gosoge lashes Federal Government for ‘draconian’ measures

Emily Moulton
The Nightly
3 Min Read
Kimbengere Gosoge spent time at Yongah Hill Detention Centre.
Kimbengere Gosoge spent time at Yongah Hill Detention Centre. Credit: Bill Hatto/The West Australian

The lawyer acting for a former immigration detainee who breached his curfew and failed to charge his ankle monitor has criticised the Federal Government for “draconian” measures that “demonise a minority group”.

Defence lawyer Rhys Mola, a former Commonwealth prosecutor, made the comments after Kimbengere Gosoge pleaded guilty to the breaches in Perth Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

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.

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.

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

The 42-year-old was arrested on May 1 after breaching his curfew five times and failing to keep the ankle monitor charged.

During the hearing it was revealed that Gosoge had stayed at his girlfriend’s home three times and missed returning to his Guildford accommodation by about an hour on April 26 and May 1.

Under his curfew, he needed to be at his residence between 10pm and 6am.

Gosoge’s ankle monitor also ran out of charge on May 1.

In arguing for Gosoge to be released on a recognisance order, Mr Mola took aim at the measures placed on his client, saying that not all former immigration detainees were “rapists, paedophiles, armed robbers, serial fraudsters of have psychological deficits”.

He told Magistrate Robert Young that he “bravely submits” the measures put in place by the Government on this group of former immigration detainees were “inherently punitive” and that they should not be “imposed by government but a court” after careful consideration of a person’s antecedence.

He argued that an Australian citizen convicted of a similar offence would be entitled to re-enter the community after serving time and that he was unaware that his client posed “any greater risk” than an Australian citizen.

While Gosoge did have a criminal record, Mr Mola said that he had not been in prison since 2008 and was “unlawfully detained” from August 2017 until November 2023.

Mr Mola revealed Gosoge first fled his native Burundi with his younger brother in 2022 after they father died.

They made their way to bulk carrier destined for South Africa before ending up in China then the Phillipines and arrived at the Kwinana goods terminal where he was detained, he added.

The court was then told Gosoge and his brother spent six months in detention before they were granted visas.

Mr Mola then revealed Gosoge’s brother tragically drowned at a beach saying his client says he has never been the same since.

Regarding the breaches, Mr Mola argued the law did not state he had to reside at the same address — only that he inform the Department of Home Affairs of any change.

He told the court his client had tried to contact the department but because he was unable to acquire his own mobile phone he was relying on Mercy Care for help.

He also told the court his client was seeking alternative accommodation because he felt unsafe where he was, had been threatened and felt alone and isolated.

With regards to the two occasions he arrived home after 10pm, Mr Mola argued he only breached by roughly an hour on both occasions and never once tried to remove his ankle monitor.

And he revealed his client was the victim of a violent robbery that required surgery to his head and spent time recovering in hospital.

“He is worthy of mercy and leniency and one final opportunity to get his life back on track,” Mr Mola added.

Mr Young adjourned the hearing until later on Tuesday.

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.