Asylum seekers clash on Christmas Island
Four people were injured in the clash which followed days of protests, said the Immigration Minister Scott Morrison in Parliament.PT1M28S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-39gr9 620 349 June 3, 2014
Dozens of criminal convictions against asylum seekers may be in doubt following revelations in a Sydney court that Australian Federal Police officers have systematically failed to undertake identification parades when investigating people in immigration detention.
Late last month the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions was forced to withdraw its charges against accused people smuggler Mohammed Hadi Parivash after a judge ruled that crucial identification evidence in the case was inadmissible because AFP officers failed to offer the accused an identification parade as demanded under the Commonwealth Crimes Act.
The officer in charge of the case told the court that it was standard practice not to undertake identification parades when the accused was a detainee because they were spread throughout the country and Department of Immigration records about their location were often out of date or simply wrong.
"Every person is entitled to equal footing before the law and to be entitled due process." Photo: Angela Wylie
This revelation brought a stern response from the judge hearing the case, Robyn Tupman, who described it as ''institutional recklessness'' and anger from refugee advocates and lawyers, who said other similar cases were now in question.
Dozens of criminal cases involving asylum seekers have come before the courts in recent years, including multiple people-smuggling cases, malicious damage cases and cases of riot and affray. There are also numerous other cases before the courts at present.
''It would be a profound concern were a person, purely by reason of seeking refugee protection, was denied the ordinary protections of Australian law,'' the executive director of the Refugee and Immigration Legal Centre, David Manne, said. ''Every person is entitled to be on equal footing before the law and to be entitled due process.''
Julian Burnside, QC, said the case ''could have implications for criminal cases involving asylum seekers where identification is an issue. If an asylum seeker's identification parade hasn't been run because Immigration is unable to provide accurate information, then that's a denial of basic procedural fairness.''
Last month, the Downing Centre District Court heard that, rather than conducting a parade with Mr Parivash, who is an asylum seeker currently held at Villawood, investigators simply