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Three ex-detainees arrested after High Court detention ruling

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Three ex-detainees were arrested after being released from Immigration detention because of last month's High Court ruling.
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Three ex-detainees have been arrested after they were released from Immigration detention because of a High Court ruling last month.

Australia’s federal police confirmed on Monday night that two recently released immigration detainees were charged in SA and NSW. Police in Victoria arrested a third detainee in Melbourne’s east yesterday.

All three were recently released after the High Court ruled that indefinite immigration detention was unlawful last month. In light of the High Court’s decision, at least 148 detainees were released.

Background

In November, the High Court ruled that indefinite detention in Australia was unlawful. This decision related to a case about a Rohingya refugee born in Myanmar known as ‘NZYQ’.

NZYQ arrived in Australia by boat in 2012. In 2015, he was charged and subsequently convicted on one count of child sexual abuse in Australia.

He was released on parole in 2018 and returned to immigration detention, where he was being held indefinitely.

High Court ruling

The High Court ruled that indefinite detainment should be a matter for the courts, not the Government. This resulted in the immediate release of NZYQ, as well as more than 140 detainees in similar circumstances.

Many of these detainees had a criminal history and had already served their sentences.

Soon after the High Court’s ruling, the Government passed laws adding strict conditions to those released, including ankle monitors and curfews.

Detainees charged

On Monday Night, the Australian Border Force (ABF) said two of the detainees have been charged since they were released in SA and NSW.

South Australia police charged a 65-year-old man with two counts of indecent assault. They had receieved reports that a woman had been indecently assaulted by a guest staying at a hotel.

NSW police arrested a 45-year-old man in western Sydney for possession of an illicit drug, suspected to be cannabis.

On Tuesday afternoon, Victoria Police confirmed a 33-year-old man failed to regularly report to police – which he is required to do as a registered sex offender.

Opposition’s response

Shadow Immigration Minister Dan Tehan has called for the Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil and Immigration Minister Andrew Giles to step down over the detainees being arrested.

“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,” Tehan said.

“They should have had a plan to protect the Australian people, including legislation for a preventive detention regime, ready to go.”

Government’s response

The Government has rejected calls for O’Neil and Giles to step down. Government Services Minister Bill Shorten said on the Today Show: “The logic of that is that the High Court should resign if you really think that there was some way to prevent this.”

The Government is trying to quickly pass preventative detention laws. These would re-detain anyone released because of the High Court’s ruling.

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