A refugee who raped a 10-year-old boy in his Sydney home didn’t believe what he did was wrong because it was “culturally acceptable” in his homeland of Myanmar.
The pedophile was released this week after a High Court ruling overturned previous determinations that he posed a danger to the public.
The court issued a landmark ruling that indefinite detention is illegal, which will likely result in the release of nearly 100 other non-citizens who cannot be deported to their home countries.
Nearly all of these detainees had their visas revoked on moral grounds, and many had previously been convicted of sex or other violent crimes.
The pedophile, known in court as NZYQ, arrived on Christmas Island by boat in September 2012 after fleeing a village in Myanmar, where its Rohingya people are persecuted and denied citizenship.
A Rohingya refugee who raped a 10-year-old boy didn’t believe what he did was wrong because it was “culturally acceptable” in his homeland of Myanmar. (File image from Rohingya refugee camp)
He spent 11 months in immigration detention before being granted a bridging visa and permission to live with a relative in Sydney.
On January 8, 2015, NZYQ visited the home of another Rohingya refugee who shared a room with his 10-year-old son.
While the father was out of the room, NZYQ entered, closed the door and anally raped the boy on his bed.
From outside the room, the father heard NZYQ say: “I will give you money to do that” and his son respond: “My father will hit me.”
NZYQ, who was arrested the next day, has no birth certificate but believes he was born between 1995 and 1997; so he was probably between 17 and 19 years old when he raped the boy.
Immigration authorities canceled NZYQ’s transitional visa a week after his arrest, and he pleaded guilty a year later to one count of sexual intercourse with a person aged 10 to 14.
A refugee pedophile who raped a 10-year-old boy was released this week after a High Court ruling overturned previous determinations that he posed a danger to the public.
At a sentencing hearing in the NSW District Court, NZYQ told Judge Andrew Scotting he did not know what he did was wrong or a crime because he had was regularly raped as a child by older boys in his village.
He claimed he asked the boy if they could have sex and he consented.
“The offender said he did not think what he asked was a bad thing or a crime and that he thought the men were having sex with each other, as happened in Myanmar,” said Justice Scotting.
“The offender lacked understanding of his actions, normalizing them as culturally acceptable to excuse his offensive behavior. The offender maintained that the complainant consented and participated voluntarily.
Judge Scotting sentenced NZYQ, who posed a medium to high risk of reoffending, to five years in prison with a non-parole period of three years and four months.
While NZYQ was in custody, he applied for a protection visa and, upon the expiration of his prison sentence in May 2018, he was arrested as an illegal non-citizen.
The pedophile, known as NZYQ, was transferred to Villawood Detention Center after serving a minimum sentence of three years and four months and being refused a visa.
NZYQ, who in recent years expressed remorse for his crime but never completed a sex offender program despite expressing a desire to do so, has since been in custody.
His application for a protection visa was refused in July 2020 when authorities deemed NZYQ posed “a danger to the Australian community” and this decision was upheld by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal last March.
NZYQ then took his case to the High Court which ruled in his favor on Wednesday and ordered his immediate release.
His case was supported by the Human Rights Law Center and the Australian Human Rights Commission.
NZYQ lawyers argued it was unconstitutional to keep someone in detention when there was no chance they would be deported.
Now in his 20s, NZYQ had asked to be deported from Australia in May 2022, but no country could be found to accept him.
Chief Justice Stephen Gageler (above) heard that some detainees were considered less desirable in other countries because of their criminal records or the security risk they might pose.
The High Court determined that NZYQ’s detention was unlawful because there was “no real prospect that his removal from Australia would become practicable in the reasonably foreseeable future”.
The decision overturns a 2004 ruling that allowed non-citizens to be indefinitely detained without visas even if they could not be deported and would likely lead to the release of 92 other detainees in the same situation.
On Friday, Immigration Minister Andrew Giles said NZYQ had already been released.
“Other affected persons will be released and any visas granted to these persons will be subject to appropriate conditions,” he said.
“We are carefully considering the implications of the judgment and will continue to work with the authorities to ensure the safety of the community is maintained.”
Barrister Craig Lenehan SC had argued that NZYQ had been unable to obtain Myanmar citizenship and that several attempts to deport his client had failed.
“He is not a citizen of any other country and he has no travel documents,” Mr Lenehan told the court on Tuesday.
“The (Home Office) Department has never successfully deported a person convicted of a child sex offense to any country other than a country that recognizes that person as a citizen.”
Chief Justice Stephen Gageler was told that some detainees were considered less desirable in other countries because of their criminal records or the security risk they might pose.
“Another way of putting it – a less appealing way – is to say they are being kept in detention because of their character,” he said.
A wave of refugees who committed violent crimes should be released
By Tess Ikonomous in Canberra for Australian Associated Press
Australia could begin releasing large numbers of refugees from immigration detention within days of a landmark High Court ruling.
On Wednesday, a majority of the High Court ruled the indefinite detention unlawful and overturned a 20-year-old precedent.
At least 92 detainees who cannot return to their home countries could be released and a further 340 long-term detainees could join them, the court was told.
Immigration Minister Andrew Giles said the government was carefully considering the implications of the judgment and would continue to work with authorities to keep the community safe.
“The remaining individuals affected will be released and any visas granted to these individuals will be subject to appropriate conditions,” Mr Giles said on Friday.
On Wednesday, a majority of the High Court ruled the indefinite detention unlawful and overturned a 20-year-old precedent. The High Court is pictured
Opposition Home Affairs spokesman James Paterson said he had no confidence in the assurances provided by the Government.
“They have not said what crimes these people have committed… they have not provided any detail or transparency to the Australian people,” he said.
Senator Paterson pressed the Government during Question Time on whether the 92 people would be released before or after the court’s reasoning behind the judgment was delivered.
He asks how many of these people have been assessed by a court for their risk of re-offending, as some have been convicted of sexual and violent offences.
Minister Murray Watt told the Senate on Friday that all of these issues were being worked on and the government considered community safety “paramount”.
“We are carefully considering the implications of the High Court judgment and will continue to work with the authorities to ensure the safety of the community,” he said.
“The government will use all available powers to keep the community safe and will consider all legislative and regulatory options.”
Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said the government recognized people’s concerns.
“The government will do everything in its power to ensure that this release takes place under the strictest possible conditions,” he declared.
“We will evaluate our options once the full decision of the High Court is made public and we can review the reasoning of the court’s decision to determine what our next steps are, but we will ensure that these steps are absolutely legally sound .” ‘
The Asylum Seeker Resource Center said Australia detained immigrants for an average of 708 days and 124 people had been detained for more than five years.