Visa charges against detainees to be dropped due to Albanese Government technical blunder

Kimberley Caines
The Nightly
2 Min Read
Andrew Giles is under pressure as more criminals could be released from immigration detention. (Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS)
Andrew Giles is under pressure as more criminals could be released from immigration detention. (Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS) Credit: AAP

Three foreign criminals released from immigration detention in WA are expected to have their charges dropped for allegedly breaching their visa conditions due to the Albanese Government being forced to reissue new documents.

A technical blunder that dated back to 2013 resulted in Labor reissuing visas last week to the 149 non-citizens released from immigration detention after the High Court in November ruled it unlawful to keep them locked up indefinitely.

Ten of those detainees had been charged over visa breaches before the error was detected by the Home Affairs Department — with three of them being in WA.

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Since then, charges have been withdrawn in six of the 10 cases.

Two of the former detainees in the State are set to face court on Friday with the third case listed on April 5.

“Although, the CDPP has requested that it also be re-listed for March 22,” a Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions spokeswoman told The West Australian.

Operation Aegis was set up in November after the High Court’s ruling to keep an eye on the detainee cohort, which includes rapists and murderers.

Following their release, they have been subject to strict conditions, including having to wear ankle monitors and adhere to curfews.

The bulk of the detainees are living in NSW and a further 20 are in WA.

Pressure is mounting on Immigration Minister Andrew Giles with his Opposition counterpart calling for him to be sacked amid revelations a further 150 criminals could be released from immigration detention over a new legal challenge next month.

“That’s what we’re calling for — is for Minister Giles for the first time to be transparent, to be very clear to the Australian people,” Shadow Immigration Minister Dan Tehan told ABC’s Radio on Tuesday.

“What is the scale and size of this mess that he’s got us into?“

Immigration Minister Andrew Giles
Andrew Giles is under pressure as more criminals could be released from immigration detention. Credit: Mick Tsikas/AAP

Mr Giles said a push to overturn rules allowing foreign criminals to be deported or held indefinitely in immigration detention would be “vigorously” defended in court.

The Albanese government has attempted to send back an Iranian citizen known as ASF17 to his country, but as a bisexual man, he could face the death penalty upon his return.

Iran is the only country Australia is attempting to send him to even though he is willing to go to another, his lawyers said in written submissions to the High Court.

If the Commonwealth wins the case, the government will be able to block further releases from immigration detention.

Asked if his former Government bore some responsibility for the Immigration detention debacle, Mr Tehan said the Coalition was doing everything it could to make sure the detainees were being removed.

Mr Giles on Monday accused the Opposition of “playing politics as we get on with the job of fixing up the mess”.

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