Two immigrants charged weeks after release from detention

Labor pushes new detainee laws

Two immigrants who were released from indefinite detention under a High Court ruling have reoffended, with one back behind bars over an alleged sexual assault.

Three weeks after 148 detainees were freed into the community, two of them had committed alleged crimes in South Australia and NSW, Australian Border Force confirmed.

Afghan refugee Aliyawar Yawari, 65, fronted court in Adelaide on Monday charged with two counts of indecent assault in relation to an alleged incident involving a woman at a hotel.

“Just before 10pm on Saturday, 2 December, police were called to licensed premises on Main North Road, Pooraka, after a report a woman had been indecently assaulted by a guest staying at the hotel,” a statement from South Australia Police said.

“Following inquiries, police arrested a 65-year-old man from Pooraka. He has been charged with two counts of indecent assault and has been refused police bail.”

Yawari was deemed a “danger to the Australian community” by a South Australian judge in 2016 following attacks on three elderly women in 2013 and 2014.

He was released from Yongah Hill Immigration Detention Centre, in Western Australia, last month and had been staying in a motel in Perth before heading to Adelaide.

Yawari did not apply for bail and has been remanded in custody until January.

A second detainee, 45, was stopped by police in Sydney on Saturday and charged with drug possession. NSW Police alleged he was carrying cannabis in resealable bags.

The Albanese government is scrambling to deal with the fallout from the High Court decision that ruled indefinite detention was illegal, resulting in the release of some dangerous criminals among more than 140 detainees.

Opposition immigration spokesman Dan Tehan ramped up his call for Immigration Minister Andrew Giles and Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil to resign.

“The government was asleep at the wheel when the High Court handed down its decision that resulted in the release of criminals from immigration detention,” he said on Monday night.

“[Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s] government has failed to keep the Australian people safe – now he must not fail to hold the ministers responsible to account.”

The federal government will introduce amendments this week to enable “preventative detention” orders to deal with released murderers and sex offenders.

For preventative detention to take effect, the immigration minister would need to apply to a court to have the person re-detained.

Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil said the detainee would have had to be charged for a crime that came with at least a seven-year sentence.

The court would need to be convinced the person posed an unacceptable risk to the community and other visa conditions would not be adequate.

Should the court impose a preventative detention order, it would apply for three years but would need to be reviewed annually.

The exact number of released detainees the preventative detention orders would apply to is not known.

Breaching an order would carry a mandatory minimum sentence of one year behind bars and a maximum of five.

A supervision order could also be imposed on detainees if higher thresholds are not able to be reached in court for a detention order.

Asked by shadow attorney-general Michaelia Cash why the government had released the high-risk detainees, Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong said it was imperative to work within the court’s decision.

“A shadow attorney-general should understand that a government under the Westminster system does not act like an autocratic dictatorship and actually does what the court says,” Wong told parliament on Monday.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said the Coalition would likely back the laws.

“If the government has adequate measures to keep Australians safe, then we will support those measures and we’ll see what they have to say,” he said in Sydney.

“If we see a bad bill, we’re not going to support it.

“If there are amendments that we can make to try and improve the piece of legislation, then we’ll do that constructively as well.”

Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie said the laws needed to be passed as soon as possible.

“If that means that Labor has to go a little bit more hardcore on this thing, go do it,” she told Sky News.

But a former national security watchdog has branded the measure a disgrace.

Former independent national security legislation monitor Grant Donaldson had previously called for an end to preventative detention orders. He doubts the laws will make the community safer.

Greens senator Nick McKim called the laws a “race to the bottom” on refugee policy.

“It creates two different classes of people in this country under the law, depending on whether you are the holder of a particular class of visa or not,” he said.

“You will find yourself at least potentially imprisoned just because of something that you might do in the future.”

-with AAP

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