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Further results of people smuggling convictions review



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THE HON NICOLA ROXON MP Attorney-General Minister for Emergency Management

MEDIA RELEASE

18 June 2012

FURTHER RESULTS OF PEOPLE SMUGGLING CONVICTIONS REVIEW

Three Indonesian nationals convicted of people smuggling, who claim they were minors at the time of their interception, will be released from prison and returned to Indonesia.

“Minors don’t belong in adult gaols, which is why the Government committed to review these cases as quickly as possible.

Further information has raised sufficient doubt that these three men may have been minors at the time of the offence which warrants granting them early release on licence.

“This is not a pardon. These three men crewed people smuggling vessels that came to Australia, all of them were found guilty of that, and they were convicted of that offence.”

“This is a decision to give these individuals the benefit of the doubt about their age when intercepted, based on further information now available.”

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship will facilitate the return of the three men to Indonesia.

Under Australian law, the offence of people smuggling applies to both adults and minors.

The Government’s policy is that minors are only prosecuted with people smuggling offences in exceptional circumstances on the basis of their significant involvement in a people smuggling venture or multiple ventures.

The Australian Human Rights Commission and the Indonesian Government requested the review, which was announced on 2 May.

Under the review, each of 28 cases is being re-examined using improved age determination processes that were introduced by the Government in 2011. In addition, the review also includes:

 the Australian Federal Police seeking verified age documents from Indonesia

 the Department of Immigration and Citizenship conducting age assessment interviews

 the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions providing all relevant case information

 the Indonesian Embassy assisting with providing age documentation.

The cases of 15 crew members still in Australian gaols will continue to be reviewed.

The Privacy Act prevents the Government from identifying the individuals that are being reviewed or commenting further on individual cases.

Since 8 December 2011, 79 people smuggling crew have been removed to their country of origin as minors after being assessed to be a minor; given the benefit of the doubt by law enforcement authorities; or found by a court to be a minor.

For all media enquiries, please contact the Attorney-General’s Office on 02 6277 7300 or 0409 945 476