Community Safety

Released detainee got eight years for drugs

May 2, 2024

Thursday 02 May 2024
Rhiannon Down and Paige Taylor
The Australian

 A freed immigration detainee was sentenced to eight years in prison for  serious drug offences seven years before he allegedly bashed a cancer  survivor and grandmother unconscious while on bail during a home invasion.
 Kuwaiti-born Majid Jamshidi Doukoshkan was convicted on two charges of  attempting to possess prohibited drugs with "intent to sell or  supply" in March 2017, before he was released as part of a cohort of  about 150 non-citizens who had failed the character test to be granted a visa  in November.
 This means Doukoshkan was flagged for deportation under the Coalition's  toughened character test rules for more than six years before he was  released.
 On Wednesday, Home Affairs Minister Clare O'Neil refused to accept  responsibility over the events that meant Doukoshkan was free on the day he  allegedly took part in a vicious attack on grandmother Ninette Simons, 73,  and her husband Philip, 76.
 Two days before the alleged attack at their Girrawheen home on April 16,  Doukoshkan was bailed after fronting a Perth court on fresh drug charges.
 "(These are) a bunch of decisions that were made by state courts,  usually with regard to state crimes," Ms O'Neil told Channel 7.
 "As a commonwealth minister I can't do anything to change what state  courts decide to do with regard to bail." Peter Dutton has attacked the  Albanese government for not opposing bail when Doukoshkan fronted a WA court  on charges of breaching his visa conditions. The Opposition Leader branded  the decision an "outrage", speculating that if he had been held on  remand the alleged attack on Ms Simons may have been prevented.
 The government has since admitted it had not argued against Doukoshkan being  freed by the magistrates court in February, despite Communications Minister  Michelle Rowland saying on Tuesday "bail had been opposed".
 The government had previously said it had fought against Doukoshkan being  granted bail.
 Doukoshkan, who was not required to wear an ankle monitor at the time of the  alleged attack, has appeared in court on at least three occasions since he  was freed by the landmark NZYQ High Court ruling. He was charged earlier this  year with breaching his curfew orders but his case was one of about 10  dropped after a government bungle resulted in the visas being invalid.
 He was granted bail on February 20, with the magistrate reportedly warning  him that he was "on very thin ice" and the commonwealth had been  "generous" in not opposing his bail.
 On April 10, he was sentenced and fined over charges of trespass and driving  with an expired licence and was also granted bail.
 He was again bailed on April 14 after being charged with a drugrelated  offence.
 Immigration Minister Andrew Giles rang Ms Simons inadvertently during a  Channel 9 interview on Wednesday, during which she told him she did not  "feel very safe", she had been "let down" and questioned  why Doukoshkan's ankle bracelet had been removed.
 The network reported that Doukoshkan's ankle bracelet was out of battery for  four days before authorities checked.
 At his 2017 sentencing, the court issued Doukoshkan with "a drug  trafficker declaration". He was deemed eligible for parole and his  sentence was backdated to August 2015.
 Anthony Albanese defended his government's failure to utilise its preventive  detention laws, saying that he wanted any application to "succeed".  Amid confusion over whether the commonwealth had applied for bail in the visa  breach matter, opposition home affairs spokesman James Paterson accused Labor  of either lying or being "so utterly incompetent".
 "When the magistrate released this person on bail, she said that the  commonwealth was being 'generous' in allowing him not to be remanded in  custody," he told Sky News. "I don't think that generosity is the  emotion required towards this cohort." Queensland Premier Steven Miles  said he did not think it was fair for Ms O'Neil to cast the blame on the  states for decisions on managing and tracking detainees.
 Under the character test rule introduced by Mr Dutton, criminals were taken  from prison at the conclusion of their sentences to immigration detention in  preparation for a flight out of Australia.
 Many spent years there exploring legal avenues to stay. Some could not be  deported to their country of origin because they had been found to be  refugees.

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