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Author Topic: Police accuse judges of giving criminals light sentences to avoid deportation  (Read 113 times)

Prickle

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Police accuse judges of giving criminals light sentences to avoid deportation

SOFT-TOUCH judges are handing down lower sentences to foreign crooks so they can avoid deportation, leaving them in Australia to reoffend, according to the Police Federation of Australia.

It is calling for all violent criminals on visas to face deportation.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, who has been strongly critical of the judiciary, said the allegations were concerning and he was considering the recommendation.

New figures also show half of the 1284 non-citizens deported last year were Kiwis.

PFA boss Mark Burgess said New Zealand police sources had told him more than half of those were reoffending within two years – though NZ authorities say it is closer to 30 per cent.

Under tough laws introduced in 2014 anyone in Australia on a visa who is sentenced to 12 months or more in prison faces mandatory cancellation of their visa.

Mr Burgess, who heads up the organisation which represents 60,000 police in all states, said it was hearing anecdotal evidence from members that judges were handing down sentences of less than 12 months to avoid triggering the provision.

He said anyone convicted of violent crimes, such as carjacking, serious assault and home invasion, should be referred to the Department of Immigration for a review of their visa regardless of the penalty imposed by the courts.

“If nothing else, it would weed out of our community people who might be a threat to our citizens,” he said.

“If it’s happening and it appears perhaps it is ... we say if it’s a crime of violence it should be reviewed anyway.”

Last month The Courier-Mail revealed magistrate Joan White talked openly in court about ensuring Iranian refugee Behzad Bashiri did not lose his visa before giving him a suspended ­sentence.

Mr Dutton said it would be a concern if judges or magistrates were reducing sentences to avoid visa cancellations.

“Through the cancelling of visas held by criminals we have made Australia a safer place and the Government is happy to consider more recommendations to improve the law to make our citizens even safer,” he said.

Earlier this month he said judges should “reflect community standards”, while he has previously accused Labor-appointed judges of handing down soft sentences.

Queensland Chief Justice Catherine Holmes this month said parliamentarians should curb their criticism of controversial sentences or risk damaging the public’s confidence in the judiciary.

After New Zealand, the UK is the next highest country of origin for non-citizens facing deportation, with 137 British criminals facing deportation from Australia.

After this it is Vietnam with 48 and Sudan with 37 people facing visa cancellation due to crimes.

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/crime-and-justice/police-accuse-judges-of-giving-criminals-light-sentences-to-avoid-deportation/news-story/300cd8276b340c2cb03adc1f66d42bb8
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