Detainee freed by High Court suing Commonwealth for false imprisonment

Tim Clarke
The Nightly
3 Min Read
The Nightly can reveal that the 46-year-old Iranian man lodged a writ via WA’s Supreme Court last week, claiming damages and interest for his time locked up in immigration detention for more than 18 months.
The Nightly can reveal that the 46-year-old Iranian man lodged a writ via WA’s Supreme Court last week, claiming damages and interest for his time locked up in immigration detention for more than 18 months. Credit: Iain Gillespie/The West Australian

One of the criminal detainees released following a seismic High Court judgement late last year is now suing the Commonwealth Government for false imprisonment.

The Nightly can reveal that the 46-year-old Iranian man lodged a writ via WA’s Supreme Court last week, claiming damages and interest for his time locked up in immigration detention for more than 18 months.

That detention came after dozens of criminal charges and convictions through the Perth courts — mostly involving, drugs, driving and bail breaches — dating back to 2016.

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The Nightly understands his last conviction involved driving through a school zone at more than 70km/h while high on meth with his pregnant partner in the car.

For that offence, he was jailed for eight months. After jail, he was moved to immigration detention.

According to the writ, that incarceration lasted from March 2022 to November 23, 2023 — when he was let go, following the ruling by the High Court that indefinite immigration detention was unlawful if there was “no real prospect of the removal” from Australia.

Other proceedings involving the man had been told that was his exact position after he arrived in Australia on an unauthorised boat arrival in 2013.

“I came here as a refugee. I don’t have anywhere to go. If I’m not released, I will have no option but to stay in detention forever,” he said.

But, along with 149 others, he was released in November — a decision which has dogged the Albanese government ever since.

Those issues have been particularly polarising in Perth after it was revealed a man accused of a brutal bashing in Girrawheen was one of those let go late last year.

Majid Jamshidi Doukoshkan remains before the WA court accused of the alleged assault on Ninette Simons, 73, and her husband Philip Simons, 76.

Majid Jamshidi Doukoshkan - who has been charged over the Girrawheen home invasion
Majid Jamshidi Doukoshkan - who has been charged over the Girrawheen home invasion Credit: facebook/supplied

And now, the Perth courts are set to hear another case likely to pain the Commonwealth government — after Solicitor General Stephen Donaghue last year conceded compensation claims would be inevitable if indefinite detention was ruled unlawful.

“The plaintiff’s claim is for damages for false imprisonment from 28 March 2022 until 23 November 2023,” the Supreme Court writ claims.

“The defendant wrongfully detained the plaintiff at an immigration detention facility without lawful authority.

“And the plaintiff claims a declaration that the plaintiff was unlawfully detained between 28 March 2022 and 23 November 2023, damages, pre-judgment interest, and costs.”

The lawyers representing the Iranian man confirmed that the claim was a direct flow-on from the decision of NZYQ. It could become one of the first claims of compensation to be heard by a court since the High Court’s ruling.

It comes two days after it was revealed the Federal Government had put aside $5.6 million in the Federal Budget to fend off legal actions launched in the wake of the NZYQ ruling.

Meanwhile, a Burundi-born former immigration detainee who allegedly repeatedly breached his stay-at-home curfew and failed to maintain his tracking device flagged plans to plead guilty to all six of his charges.

Kimbengere Gosoge was arrested by Australian Federal Police on May 1, and appeared in Midland Magistrates Court the next day. His lawyer secured a two-week adjournment so he could take further instructions from his client.

He appeared in Perth Magistrates Court via videolink from Hakea Prison on Thursday, when his lawyer said after discussions with Commonwealth prosecutors guilty pleas would likely be entered at the next appearance in May.

The 42-year-old was remanded in custody.

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