Community Safety


May 3, 2024

Friday 03 May 2024
Dan Jervis-Bardy
The West Australian

 Government shifts responsibility over new visas * Court was warned that detainee  would reoffend
 The man accused of bashing a Perth grandmother was among a group of former  immigration detainees who were not required to wear ankle monitors under new  visas issued in March due to a technical blunder.
 The West Australian can reveal that Majid Jamshidi Doukoshkan was allowed to  remove his GPS tracker after the Commonwealth's community protection board  advised against imposing the condition as part of his re-issued visa.
 Mr Doukoshkan is now facing charges over the alleged home invasion and brutal  bashing of 73-year-old Perth grandmother Ninette Simons.
 Ms Simons and WA Premier Roger Cook are among those demanding answers about  why Mr Doukoshkan wasn't being
 monitored in the weeks before the alleged attack.
 The 43-year-old was wearing an ankle bracelet when he was hauled before a  Perth court in February over alleged curfew breaches.
 During that appearance a Commonwealth prosecutor warned that Mr Doukoshkan  would reoffend but did not oppose bail, saying: "The prosecution does  have concerns about his ability to not commit further offences, particularly  in relation to the curfew . . . notwithstanding that . . . we do not oppose  bail with a personal undertaking being imposed." The charges against him  were later dropped due to a technical blunder that forced the Commonwealth to  reissue visas for the entire cohort freed after the High Court ruling.
 Mr Doukoshkan was among a group of ex-detainees whose new visa conditions  didn't include GPS tracking, based on advice from the board.
 Minister for Immigration Andrew Giles issued the original visas last  November, which included curfew and electronic monitoring requirements.
 However, he did not decide on the conditions placed on the reissued visas,  instead delegating responsibility to an official, a Federal Government  spokesman said. Figures supplied to Senate estimates showed the number of  ex-detainees who were not being electronically monitored rose from 36 in  February to 73 by late March.
 The new visas were issued on March 13.
 Ms Simons confronted Mr Giles during a phone call on Wednesday about the  failure to GPS track Mr Doukoshkan.
 "That's what we can't understand, why was his ankle bracelet removed in  March?" Ms Simons told Mr Giles from her Girrawheen home.
 Mr Cook also demanded answers as he urged the Commonwealth to use all the  powers available to "monitor, to track, and to supervise" the  former detainees.
 "I want the Commonwealth to have a precautionary approach in relation to  (tracking detainees)," he said.
 "If there's any doubt in people's minds whether these people represent a  risk to the community, well then obviously we'd like to see electronic  monitoring and other supervision methods be an important part of keeping us  safe." Shadow home affairs minister James Paterson said the case had  involved a "litany of failures from start to finish".
 "I hope he (Mr Giles) gave her (Ms Simons) better answers than he's  given the public, because so far, neither he nor the Home Affairs Minister  has been able to explain why this person was free in the community, why they  didn't oppose bail, why his ankle bracelet was removed, why before that, his  ankle bracelet wasn't working and it took days before police went and saw  him," he told Sky News.
 The West Australian has sought an explanation from Federal authorities about  why the community protection board believed Mr Doukoshkan did not require a  GPS tracker.
 Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Thursday distanced his ministers from the  board's recommendation, telling ABC radio "the community protection  board is, of course, a board that's independent of politicians".
 He sidestepped questions on whether the board had failed, saying it would be  inappropriate to comment on individual cases.
 The suggestion that the board - rather than politicians - is responsible for  decisions on visa conditions is contradicted by evidence from Home Affairs  and Border Force officials at Senate estimates earlier this year.
 At a February 12 hearing, Border Force boss Michael Outram said the minister  made decisions based on the board's recommendations and his endorsement as  commissioner.
 The mixed messaging will intensify scrutiny on the Federal Government, which  is in damage control after The West revealed Commonwealth prosecutors did not  oppose bail for Mr Doukoshkan at a February court hearing over repeated  curfew breaches.
 The eight-member board was established in December to advise the Federal  Government on what conditions should be imposed on the cohort of immigration  detainees released after the High Court's ruling on the NZYQ case.
 Chaired by Border Force assistant commis sioner Sandra Jeffery, the  eight-person board in cludes three other Commonwealth officials and four  independent members.
 The inde pendent members are former Victor ian Police com missioner Graham  Ashton, former Queensland deputy police commissioner Peter Martin, clinical  psychologist Monique Phipps and youth justice expert Carmel Guera, according  to the board's website.
 Mr Outram said the board considered a range of factors when making recommendations,  including the individual's criminal past, behaviour in prison or detention  and medical history.
 "So the board use their expertise incredibly thoroughly in each case to  make recommendations," he said.
 On Wednesday, the Home Affairs Minister Clare O'Neil rejected calls to  resign.
 Caption Text:
 Ninette Simons is helped to an ambulance after being attacked in her home on  April 16. Below: One of the men accused of being involved, former detainee  Majid Jamshidi Doukoshkan. Opposite page: Andrew Giles, Clare O'Neil, Ms  Simons & Anthony Albanese. Main picture: 7NEWS

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