Aussies deport hundreds of Kiwis

MARTY SHARPE
Last updated 05:00 08/01/2014
Jeremy George Edward McLaughlin
KIRK HARGREAVES
KILLER: Jeremy McLaughlin.

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A violent criminal being deported to Hastings is one of more than 100 New Zealanders, including prison inmates, kicked out of Australia in the past 18 months because of criminal offending, or their risk of offending.

Figures provided by the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection show that since July 2007, 420 New Zealanders have been sent home for failing a character test.

That included 85 in the 2012-13 year and 22 between July and November last year. An unknown number of those were deported straight from Australian prisons on becoming eligible for parole and banished without being subject to post-release conditions.

Among those to have their visas cancelled was Marouna Williams, 24, who is expected to arrive in Hastings this month after serving part of a three-year prison sentence for a home invasion and intentionally causing serious injury in 2008. He has not lived in New Zealand since he was 2.

Others have included paedophile Aaron Ellmers, who was deported in 2008 after serving half a five-year prison term for raping a boy.

He reoffended against boys in New Zealand and was sentenced to preventive detention last May.

Ellmers' case and that of another deportee, Jeremy McLaughlin, jailed for life last year for killing 13-year-old Jade Bayliss, have highlighted the need for better information sharing between the two countries.

After McLaughlin's conviction in April it was revealed he had been deported from Australia in 2001 after serving half of a 12-year sentence for the manslaughter of a teenager in 1995.

Justice Minister Judith Collins is looking at legislative changes that could see deported criminals made subject to supervision or monitoring, and improved sharing of information between the two nations and also developing a Memorandum of Understanding with Australia about the release of information.

"We need to make sure we have a clear picture of the extent of the problem, the types of offenders and the risks they pose to New Zealand communities," she said yesterday. "This will enable us to put in place the most appropriate monitoring and supervision system."

Police manager of investigations Detective Superintendent Rod Drew yesterday said police would welcome any such changes.

"Currently, there is an informal process for police to access deportation and conviction information from Australian authorities. This is partly due to deportation and conviction information being held by different Australian agencies," he said.

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Police were looking at developing a Memorandum of Understanding with Australian police that would provide "timely and consistent access to conviction and deportation data", he said.

That would help police manage the risk of New Zealanders with convictions being deported from Australia back to New Zealand.

Changes to the Australian Privacy Act, due to come into effect in the next few months, would help in developing the memorandum.

The number of Kiwis being deported from Australia far outnumbered those going in the other direction. Of the 478 people deported from New Zealand after a prison release between July 2008 and November last year, just 33 were Australians.

- The Dominion Post

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