Community Safety

Guilt sits at minister's door

May 4, 2024

Saturday 04 May 2024
Paul Garvey and Rhiannon Down
The Weekend Australian

 Immigration Minister Andrew Giles has conceded that his own delegate signed  off on the removal of an ankle bracelet from the former detainee accused of  bashing a Perth grandmother, undermining Anthony Albanese's attempts to blame  an independent board for the growing scandal.
 As Labor's detainee crime crisis deepened on Friday, The Australian revealed  convicted drug offender Majid Jamshidi Doukoshkan had broken his curfew  conditions just one minute after they were imposed on him, and that he went  to ignore the restrictions on his movements a further five times.
 Doukoshkan then committed at least two more offences before he was allegedly  involved in the attack on Ninette and Philip Simons.
 He and his accomplices are alleged to have used a stolen police badge to talk  their way into the couple's Girrawheen home before bashing them and making  off with the couple's life savings.
 It was also revealed on Friday that a second freed detainee recently arrested  on multiple curfew breaches had been charged earlier this year over an  aggravated burglary. As the government becomes more consumed by the  consequences of the High Court releasing more than 150 criminals from  immigration detention, the Prime Minister claimed that the Community  Protection Board set up to advise his cabinet on the released detainees was  behind the decision to remove Doukoshkan's monitoring device.
 Mr Albanese on Friday conceded that the decision not to require Doukoshkan to  wear a monitoring device was a failure, but tried to distance his government  from the call.
 "I think that's a wrong decision by that board, but they make the  decisions," he told the Seven Network's Sunrise.
 Hours later, Mr Giles's office revealed it was an unnamed  "delegate" of the minister who signed off on the decision in March  this year.
 "The Community Protection Board provided recommendations on the  management and visa conditions of all individuals, and a delegate of the  minister subsequently granted visas with conditions, taking into  consideration this advice from the board," a government spokeswoman  said.
 The federal government was forced to reissue bridging visas to Doukoshkan and  the 151 released detainees in March because their original visas were deemed  invalid due to a technicality.
 Mr Giles's office's admission stood in contrast with the attempts by Mr  Albanese and other Labor ministers to pin responsibility for the decision on  the Community Protection Board - which was set up by the government in  December - and commonwealth prosecutors who did not oppose bail for  Doukoshkan.
 Government Services Minister Bill Shorten also criticised commonwealth  prosecutors for failing to oppose Doukoshkan's bail. "I honestly don't  know why the federal prosecutor - who admittedly is independent, so I'll  probably get in trouble for saying this - but why on earth didn't the federal  prosecutor oppose bail?" Mr Shorten told the Nine Network's Today.
 Opposition home affairs spokesman James Paterson blasted Mr Albanese for  attempting to "hide behind public servants" by seeking to blame the  Community Protection Board and prosecutors.
 Senator Paterson said the board only provided advice to the government and it  ultimately fell to the government to make the decisions.
 "It was his ministers who let these violent offenders into the  community, removed their tracking devices, failed to use preventative  detention orders and allowed bail to be granted," he said. "The  community protection board only provides advice; the Immigration Minister  makes the decisions." Later on Friday, Mr Giles's office said it was  important for the minister to personally keep his distance from decisions on  the detainees' visa conditions.
 "Decisions about visas issued to this group are extremely likely to be  the subject of legal challenge and as such it is critical that they be  informed by independent, expert advice," said a spokeswoman for Mr  Giles.
 "These decisions are delegated to officials within the department, at  arm's length from politicians." Transcripts of Doukoshkan's February  court appearance after he was charged with breaching his Curfew, which took place weeks before the decision was  made to lift his monitoring-device requirements, laid bare how he repeatedly  breached his conditions despite repeated warnings.
 Prosecutors detailed how he breached his curfew conditions just one minute  after they came into force, and went on to break his curfew a further five  times.
 Kuwait-born Doukoshkan first breached his curfew conditions on February 9 and  ignored multiple federal police and Department of Home Affairs warnings,  setting a pattern of behaviour that prompted commonwealth prosecutors to flag  their concerns about the likelihood that he could reoffend.
 According to the court transcript, Doukoshkan breached the curfew four times  in just over two days between February 9 and 11.
 In one instance, he left his home at 10.01pm - just one minute after the  curfew began - and did not return for more than two hours. He then left his  home during curfew twice in the early hours of February 11, and then again  that evening between 10.20pm and 1.20am.
 According to prosecutor Stacey Byrne, he was then reminded of the curfew  conditions by the Department of Home Affairs the following day. "He  acknowledged the excuses for the previous breaches were not good and he did  not want a referral to the AFP," Ms Bryne said at the time.
 But the battery in his ankle monitor was left to go flat just two days later,  with another two days passing before AFP visited Doukoshkan to remind him  again of the curfew requirements and the need to keep the ankle monitor from  running out of battery.
 Just two days later, however, he breached the curfew again, leaving his  residence for 40 minutes between 11.33pm on February 18 and 12.13am the  following day.
 He then left the house again at 5.52am on February 19, before the curfew had  lifted.
 He was taken in by the AFP that afternoon, and declined to be interviewed by  AFP officers.
 That series of events prompted the prosecutor to warn of the potential for  Doukoshkan to commit further offences, although she opted against opposing  bail.
 "So ultimately, your Honour, the prosecution does have concerns about  his ability to not commit further offences, particularly in relation to the  curfew, having regard to his attitude towards compliance thus far ." Ms  Byrne said.
 "Notwithstanding that, your Honour, we do not oppose bail with a  personal undertaking being imposed, but want to make it very well known to  the accused that that's the position of the commonwealth today, but further  breaches may not have the same response in terms of attitude towards  bail." Those charges were ultimately dropped due to problems with the  visas issued to him and several other former detainees facing similar  charges.
 Weeks later, however, the Community Protection Board recommended that  Doukoshkan no longer needed the monitoring device. He would go on to be  convicted in April of trespass and driving without a licence, just days  before allegedly participating in the burglary of the Simonses.
 In the case of the second detainee, Burundi-born Kimbengere Gosoge faced  Midland Magistrates Court on Thursday after being charged by the Australian  Federal Police with breaching his curfew requirements five times in as many  days, as well as one count of failing to maintain a monitoring device.
 Court records show that Gosoge had already been charged with one count of  aggravated home burglary before he was arrested on the curfew breaches. He  first appeared in court on that matter on March 19, and is due to appear back  in court on that matter in early June. Gosoge had previously faced  deportation after being convicted of burglary and stealing back in 2017. In  that instance, he was given a six-month community-based order for a charge of  being armed or pretending to be armed in a way that may cause fear and one  charge of burglary. He was fined $500 for three counts of stealing and one  count of breaching a bail undertaking.
 Opposition immigration spokesman Dan Tehan said Gosoge's arrest signified  "another complete failure" for Labor.
 "It shows what a complete mess the government has made of this situation  and for the Prime Minister and the minister to sit back and blame a board  they set up for their own gross incompetence, is nothing short of lacking  complete and utter responsibility," Mr Tehan said.
 He said Mr Giles was ultimately responsible for the board he established and  called on him to "get out of hiding from the top, take responsibility,  and finally do the right thing and resign".
 "The Prime Minister has put his Immigration Minister and close friends  in witness protection, and he's seeking to blame everyone else barring the  Immigration Minister," he said. "He's got to let go of his  factional mate and do the right thing by the Australian people."

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