A New Zealander with a history of violent offending is being deported from Australia, despite not having lived here since he was two.
One of the reasons the Australian authorities have given for Marouna Williams' deportation is that his parents live in Hastings. But ironically, they are Australian citizens and had expected to return there after their posting to New Zealand finishes at the end of next year.
Marouna Williams, 24, had his visa cancelled late last year and an appeal against the decision was dismissed on December 20. He was born in New Zealand but left with his family as a 2-year-old for the Cook Islands. He arrived in Australia as a 9-year-old.
He had had several brushes with the law before October 2008 when, while carrying out a home invasion with others in Melbourne, he senselessly beat a stranger, stomping so hard on his head that his shoe left an impression on the man's face.
He was convicted in 2011 on five charges over that incident - including intentionally causing serious injury - and sentenced to 43 months imprisonment.
He was released on parole in November 2012 but was immediately taken into immigration detention, where he has remained.
His father Abela Williams, a minister at the Cook Islands Christian Church in Hastings, said he could not understand the deportation ruling as his son was ready to change his ways.
"I was very shocked because he's paid his penalty and went through the process of rehabilitation and he is ready to go back to work.
"This last one where he has beaten up this guy, he was not by himself, it wasn't his trouble but he went in and helped out his friends but he paid the penalty for the rest of them."
If he had been allowed to stay he would have been able to work and contribute to society, Mr Williams said. "He's got a good record in his jobs, even his bosses said they would take him on when he got out."
A psychologist who examined Williams said he had a medium risk of reoffending, but the vice-president of the Australian Administrative Appeals Tribunal, James Constance, said he was satisfied "there is a reasonable likelihood that Mr Williams will re-offend".
The risk of future harm if Williams was allowed to stay in Australia was unacceptable and "he should forfeit the privilege to continue to hold a visa", Mr Constance said.
Williams was responsible for "repeated acts of extreme violence", the tribunal said - putting a train passenger in a coma in hospital for "a few months" after an unprovoked attack committed with his cousins when he was 15.
He was also guilty of burglary, dishonesty offences, theft of a motor vehicle, and drink-driving.
His "positive contribution" to Australia was limited to three years of employment - and his criminal offending began within six years of his arrival in the country.
As his parents had left Australia when he was 16, they did not provide him with a close link to the country.
"There are no language or social barriers which he would experience if he was required to return to New Zealand.
"As a citizen of that country he will be entitled to such support as is provided by the Government."
Abela Williams told the tribunal that he and his wife would remain in New Zealand at the end of his posting and provide accommodation for his son. They have been in New Zealand since 2007.
Williams is expected to be met by them when he arrives in Auckland late this month.
His father had told the tribunal his son had reasonable prospects of obtaining seasonal work in the fruit-growing industry in Hawke's Bay.
He said yesterday that his son did not have a job lined up yet.
- © Fairfax NZ News