Detained ex-immigrant returned to community after AFP arrest in Washington for violating curfew and ankle monitor

A former immigration detainee, freed after the High Court ruled that indefinite detention was unlawful, has been given a 12-month suspended sentence for violating the conditions of his release, including letting his GPS ankle monitor run out of battery.

Burundi-born Kimbengere Gosoge, 42, appeared in Perth Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday via video link from Hakea Prison, where he has been held since his arrest by the Australian Federal Police three weeks ago.

He was originally facing six charges, but four of the charges were stayed today.

Gosoge pleaded guilty to two offences: violating his curfew and failing to keep his ankle monitoring device in operation, which were among the conditions imposed on all former detainees who were released following the High Court ruling last year.

Perth Magistrates Court was told between April 26 and May 1 this year that he repeatedly breached a curfew requiring him to stay at a hotel in the Perth suburb of Guildford between 10pm and 6:00 hours.

Generic AFP Badge

Australian Federal Police arrested Gosage earlier this month.(Supplied)

His movements were tracked by the monitoring device he was supposed to wear, but its battery died and he was arrested and charged.

The court was told Gosoge and his brother had fled the African nation of Burundi in 2002 after their father was killed in the civil war.

He initially spent time in an immigration detention center, but after they were both released, his brother drowned on a beach.

The court heard Gosoge had a long criminal record, including an 18-month jail term in 2008 and a conviction for stealing a motor vehicle in 2014.

That led to his visa being canceled on character grounds and him being returned to prison in 2017, where he remained for six years until the landmark High Court ruling late last year that saw the release of 149 detainees.

‘Irresponsible’ actions

His lawyer, Rhys Mola, told the court that when Gosoge was released following the High Court decision in November, he did not receive adequate support and one of the reasons he breached curfew was because he felt “unsafe.” and “isolated” in the hotel where he was. he was obliged to stay.

Mola said that at the time of his arrest, Gosoge was working with Mercy Care to try to find alternative accommodation where he would feel safer.

However, Mola said Gosoge found it difficult to explain his situation to the Department of Home Affairs.

View of the High Court of Australia sign in Canberra.

Late last year, the High Court ruled that indefinite detention was unlawful.(AAP: Mick Tsikas)

He called his client’s actions “irresponsible.”

“He did not demonstrate complete disregard for the monitoring conditions… he was not acting nefariously,” Mola said.

‘Draconian’ conditions

Mola said his client’s electronic monitoring was “inherently punitive” and claimed that the laws Gosege was subject to had “demonized a minority group of people like no other.”

He said not all of the detained former immigrants were rapists, pedophiles, armed robbers or serial fraudsters, nor did they have psychological deficits, and maintained that they were being subjected to “draconian punishment” imposed by the executive arm of the government.

Mola said his client had spent six years in “oppressive” detention, during which he was “switched” between Christmas Island, Villawood in New South Wales and Yongah Hill in Western Australia.

The court was told that the offenses to which the 42-year-old pleaded guilty carry prison sentences of 12 months.

But Mola argued that it would be reasonable for Gosoge to be released on good behavior bail.

Magistrate Robert Young said Gosoge had a “long history of offending in WA”.

Signage on the side of the Central Court of Justice building in Perth during the day.

Perth Magistrates Court was told Gosage had not felt safe at the hotel where he was due to stay.(ABC News: Keane Bourke)

He said that while the former detainee may have felt unsafe where he resided, it was not up to an individual to “decide for themselves whether a location is suitable… and leave whenever they wish.”

“The defendant convinced himself that there was no real harm in breaking the curfew,” Mr Young said.

“These conditions are for the safety of the community (and) to inspire confidence in the community.”

Magistrate Young sentenced Gosoge to 12 months in jail, but said that, taking into account mitigating factors and the orders he was subject to as part of his release from immigration detention, he could be released immediately on a good bail bond. conduct of two years, meaning he does not have to spend any more time in custody.

Speaking directly to Gosoge, he told him he would be subject to the same conditions (curfew and ankle checks) for another 12 months.

He also warned the former detainee that another similar crime would result in the lack of bail and the fulfillment of the preventive detention sentence.

Gosoge spoke only to acknowledge both statements.