Magistrate blasts immigration dept
A Perth magistrate says the immigration department “effectively sabotaged” police investigations into a riot by detainees on Christmas Island and allowed key players to escape justice.
Magistrate Stephen Malley today also criticised Federal police as he delivered his verdicts on charges against five Sri Lankan Tamil detainees following the riot at the detention centre on November 21 last year.
He said it was “bizarre” that within 48 hours of the extremely violent confrontation, the immigration department shipped off 40 detainees to the mainland, many of whom were involved in the violence.
The actions of the department “effectively sabotaged“ investigations into the riot by the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Mr Malley said.
The Perth Magistrates Court heard that Afghan detainees were violently set upon by Sri Lankan detainees following a dispute between the two groups.
Mr Malley said rioters armed themselves with tree branches, pool cues, mop handles, chairs and parts of soccer goal posts that were dismantled during the violence.
He said that following the riot the immigration department showed “little or no regard whether those they were releasing committed serious or criminal acts”.
Those more seriously involved were in effect “assisted to evade prosecution“, the magistrate said.
The department showed “reckless disregard” for the significance of the events and had given limited assistance to the AFP, he said.
Mr Malley also said video interviews conducted by police were “poorly done and in most instances worthless” while photo boards used for identification were inadequate.
He found that staff employed by the firm Serco, charged with running the centre, were “not well trained in the manner in which to deal with these events”.
Originally 11 Sri Lankans were put on trial over the riots but six had charges against them dismissed.
Mr Malley said the case had been frustrating for the court given the inadequacy of the investigations and the “considerable money“ invested in bringing lesser players before the courts.
The magistrate found two of the five Sri Lankans guilty on charges of rioting and weapons possession and another guilty of possessing a weapon.
On the rioting charges, Pranavan Sivasubramaniyam and Anburajan Anton were given six-month jail sentences suspended for six months.
They and Gnararajah Jesurajah were put on good behaviour bonds of $500 on the weapons possession charges.
Anantharajeevan Thangarasha and Kokilakumar Subramanian were found not guilty on the charges against them.
The court heard the riot started in a compound at the detention centre and spread onto the sports oval.
Sri Lankans, agitated over an earlier confrontation in which Tamils were injured, gathered and pursued outnumbered Afghans, bashing many of them in a “violent confrontation based on racial lines“, Mr Malley found.
“The evidence is of a running battle, with Afghanis retreating towards the medical compound chased by the Sri Lankan detainees.”
In sentencing, Mr Malley told the convicted men they had allowed their emotions to affect their better judgment.
The five Sri Lankans have been granted refugee status but have been kept in detention in Perth pending the result of their trial. They are expected to be released from detention within weeks.
Two more boats push arrivals to yearly record
THE 114th and 115th vessels to arrive this year have taken the number of asylum-seekers (invaders) to 5548. (WRONG, they are boat number 115 and 116 and the number of illegal unarmed boat invaders for 2010 now stands at 5,544.)
THE surprise approach of two asylum-seeker (invader) boats to Christmas Island last night has pushed the number of arrivals for the year beyond the record set during the years of the Howard government.
Labor was just 51 people (invaders) shy of outstripping the Coalition's record of 5516 asylum-seekers (invaders) in 2004 when the two boats appeared on the horizon soon after 3pm local time (7pm AEDT).
The first boat contained 11 passengers (invaders) and one crew member (smuggler), while the second vessel had 71 passengers (invaders) and one(smuggler).
The additional 82 asylum-seekers (invaders) pushes the yearly figure to 5548 (5,544 by my records), setting a new record.
The arrivals ended a busy 24-hour period for Australian Customs vessel Ocean Protector, as it was called upon to intercept four boats within 24 hours.
On Tuesday, Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor confirmed the interception of two asylum-seeker (invader) boats off Christmas Island, the 112th and 113th this year. (Once again two boats as occurred on the 8th of October cannot become one no matter how much spin is placed on it. They were boats 113 and 114!)
The boats, intercepted south and southeast of Christmas Island, were carrying 80 passengers (invaders) and two crew (smugglers) on one boat and 63 passengers (invaders) on the other, bringing the total number of arrivals this year to 5466. (In light of an additional invader being added to those that invaded the country on November the 2nd the count of invaders has been increased by one which will cost us an extra $80,000 just to process and then you've their dole payments and housing costs to add to that once they are allowed into the country by the communist lesbian Comrade Gillard.)
The 114th and 115th boats appeared crowded. (115th and 116th boats)
Locals watched on as one of the asylum (invader) boats towed the other to the edge of Flying Fish Cove.
Ocean Protector oversaw the arrival, and Customs rigid inflatable boats escorted them in.
This year, asylum (invader) boats have been smaller but more frequent than in 2004, when 5516 asylum-seekers (invaders) arrived on 44 boats.
At Christmas Island yesterday, a small number of the 143 people (invaders) intercepted on Tuesday were delivered to immigration officials on the island in barges. However, rough weather made it dangerous to continue offloading people.
Last night, asylum-seekers (invaders) from each of the four asylum (invader) boats spent the night moored off the island waiting to be brought ashore.
Most of those intercepted on Tuesday remained on the Ocean Protector.
According to Customs' website, the boat has "austere accommodation for up to 120 potential transportees (invaders)".
Those who arrived on two boats yesterday stayed on board their vessels.
They had been provided life jackets, food and water. The arrivals (invaders) will place further strain on the island's detention facilities, which on Tuesday night held 2669 people (invaders).
There are about 2400 boatpeople (invaders) in various detention facilities on the mainland.
Yesterday, 25 asylum-seekers (invaders) being held in mainland detention were granted visas and resettled, bringing the total number of asylum-seekers (invaders)granted visas this year to 1812. That figure comprises 1003 Afghans, 357 Sri Lankans, 165 Iranians, 81 Iraqis and 212 people (invaders) of other nationalities, including stateless people.
So far this year, 44 boatpeople (invaders) have been returned to their country of origin, including two involuntarily. (You've gotta like the odds, no wonder they keep coming and there's going to be a hell of a lot more in the coming months and years especially under the communist labor/watermelons coalition government.)
That figure comprises 22 Sri Lankans, 13 Vietnamese, five Iraqis, two Afghans, one Iranian and one Indian.
So far in November there have been 4 boats carrying 225 invaders and 4 reported smugglers. The tally so far for 2010 on the 3rd of November (the 307th day of 2010) is 116 boats carrying 5,544 invaders and 279 reported smugglers.
Homeless sleep rough for longer in Australia than US - survey
THE vulnerable homeless in Australia are being forced to sleep rough longer than their US counterparts, new research shows.
Volunteers who tried to interview every homeless person in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane found many were worse off than those living on the streets in New York, LA and Chicago.
More than 50 per cent of those questioned were vulnerable, those most at risk of death due to age or ill health, compared with 44 per cent in America.
The at-risk group was also spending an average of 11 years on the streets in Australia - five years longer than the US.
The surveys took place as part of a fresh drive to find housing for rough sleepers.
The research led by Australia's Mercy Foundation involved local welfare groups and US charity Common Ground, which helped drive the surveys and crunch the numbers.
Common Ground organiser Kara Mergl said people were finding themselves homeless at a younger age than in America.
"It is striking that the vulnerability rates are higher," she said.
"Some people who are finding themselves on the streets at 15 or 16 are still sleeping rough for decades.
"We believe the early age people are finding themselves homeless is because of the higher rates of foster care in this country.
"Those accessing services in their youth are then most likely to end up homeless."
This week, more than 200 of 262 known homeless people in Sydney were questioned by volunteers.
Their surveys found 13 per cent of the homeless in Sydney were Aboriginal.
Contrary to public perception, most respondents said they were not living homeless out of choice.
"The majority of people living homeless are doing so because of a crisis," Ms Mergl said.
"What the work here is doing is taking the barrier down - we are simply saying we have a unit and we want to minimise the effort it takes to get back into housing."
More than 80 volunteers surrendered their sleep to hit the streets of Sydney at 4.30am on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to question rough sleepers on their housing and healthcare needs.
The research in Sydney was led by the Mercy Foundation, which partnered Way2Home outreach service, the Salvation Army and Missionbeat to conduct the research.
Similar work in Brisbane led to the housing of 30 vulnerable people, a spokeswoman for the Mercy Foundation said.
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