Angry PM slams bail decision for ex-detainee on charges

Former detainee arrested over home invasion

Source: WA Police

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has blasted federal prosecutors who failed to oppose bail for a freed immigration detainee, before the man allegedly assaulted a Perth grandmother during a home invasion.

The former detainee, a 43-year-old man who was freed following a High Court ruling in November, was one of three people charged over the assault of Ninette Simmons and her husband Philip.

Albanese said the prosecutors’ decision not to oppose bail for the detainee after reoffending had taken place was troubling.

“That wasn’t a decision of government … I am just as upset about that decision as you are. I think that lacks common sense,” he told Seven’s Sunrise program on Friday.

“We recognise that community safety is the absolute priority.

“My heart goes out to Ninette, no one should be subject to that sort of violence. It is an outrage that this occurred.”

Albanese also took aim at his own government-appointed community protection board, which was set up following the High Court ruling, after it recommended the detainee not be required to wear an ankle bracelet.

Federal parliament passed emergency laws after the court ruling, imposing strict monitoring conditions on released detainees, including electronic monitoring and ankle bracelets.

Albanese admitted the board had failed in not requiring the ankle bracelet at the time.

“That’s the wrong decision by that board, but they make the decisions independent,” he said.

“The government has had to deal with the implications of [the High Court case] and the results of that, we’ve been trying to do that, we’ve put in a range of laws … we want to take as strong an action as possible.”

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said the assault had caused understandable community anger.

“People are right to be angry about it and upset, this could be anybody’s grandmother or mother,” he told Nine’s Today program.

“[Immigration Minister Andrew Giles] has responsibility here, the first charge of the Prime Minister of our country is to keep people safe, not to put them in harm’s way, and that’s what’s happened.”

The Coalition has repeated calls for Giles and Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil to resign following the assault.

Government Services Minister Bill Shorten said the community protection board’s decision not to recommend ankle bracelets was an error.

“They made a decision to not put an ankle bracelet on this fellow because previously he hadn’t shown any crimes of violence, but I agree … that that is a mistake,” he told Today.

“As a human being and as someone in public life who represents the community, I do not understand some of our bail laws, and I do not understand some of the decisions made to give these people freedom when they shouldn’t have it.”


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