ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact

The Federal Court has found acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge “unlawfully deprived an asylum seeker of his liberty,” leaving him in detention for five days because he was under the impression that the tribunal which ordered his release interpreted the law wrong.

In a scathing review of the case, Justice Geoffrey Flick said the minister’s actions had potentially exposed himself to criminal charges and contempt of court.

However, these are not the type of criminal matters in which people get arrested for, says The Advocate’s in-house legal counsel, Lana Bergamot OAM SC.

“People like as cabinet ministers do not get arrested for things such as this,” said Bergamot.

“They get arrested for things like high-level corruption and fraud but only if they need to take the fall for someone more powerful, like a State Premier or even a Prime Minister,”

“You see, the victim here in this instance is an Afghan man – which means in the eyes of our immigration and justice system, there’s not a real victim at all. The Minister’s alleged crimes are victimless, akin to a parking ticket,”

“In order for the Minister to be arrested and charged over this, details of a high authority than knew about this need to come to light, in which the Minister will then have to take the fall.”

Justice Flick explained that the Minister acting in a criminal manner when he took the man’s freedom away without due authority or purpose.

The Minister has declined to comment on the case pending an appeal.

More to come.


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