Number of crims released following landmark NZYQ ruling revealed

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Seven murderers, 37 sex offenders and 72 violent criminals were released from immigration detention following last year’s landmark NZYQ High Court ruling.

Documents tabled on Monday morning revealed the 149 detainees released also include 16 domestic violence offenders, 13 drug offenders, and five people convicted of people smuggling or other crimes of international significance.

Fewer than five with “low level or no criminality” were also released.

Six of those who have been released have been arrested and charged for breaching their visa conditions. Another 18 have been charged by state and territory police.

The release of the ruling last November caught the government by surprise, sparking a frenzied rush to legislate new laws to tighten visa conditions and enact preventive detention laws to re-detain non-citizens.

But the documents tabled in senate estimates revealed the government has yet to make an application to re-detain any of those released.

“As of 31 January 2024, nil individuals have been re-detained in an immigration detention facility on the basis that there is a real prospect of their removal from Australia being practicable in the reasonably foreseeable future,” the report said.

Home Affairs secretary Stephanie Foster told senators the response was “ongoing”.

“With the Department managing current litigation and preparing for future cases, continuing to engage internationally on removals and working with the states and territories to further embed our community safety arrangements,” she said.

“There has been much media interest in individual cases and, as you would be aware, the Department will need to avoid disclosing information that could identify any individual person.”

But opposition home affairs spokesman James Paterson grilled Ms Foster about why the documents tabled were not provided prior to the hearing, as requested.

Ms Foster said it was “largely a question of resourcing” and she had not wanted to divert her staff from Senate estimates preparation.

Copies of Senator Paterson’s correspondence were also provided to Immigration Minister Andrew Giles’ office, he said.

“It certainly implies that there was political involvement in the responsive political stuff being copied on the response,” he said.

Ms Foster said it had been “an error”.

Read related topics:Immigration