The ice-addicted refugee was deemed a high risk of reoffending. (File picture)
The ice-addicted refugee was deemed a high risk of reoffending. (File picture)

Ice-addicted criminal refugee gets to stay

AN ICE addict refugee from Iran has beaten a deportation order, despite 25 convictions for crimes including a stabbing, drug use and burglary.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton cancelled the man's humanitarian visa for failing Australia's "character test'' in January.

But the refugee, known as Mr ToTK, appealed to the federal government's Administrative Appeals Tribunal, which decided to let him stay in Australia despite "a significant risk of re-offending''.

The AAT said that deportation to Iran or indefinite detention in Australia would be crushing for the ice addict and serial thief.

Mr ToTK told the AAT that sending him back to Iran would jeopardise his personal safety and deeply distress his parents.

AAT senior member Peter Taylor ruled that Mr ToTK had not committed any offences that were regarded by the courts as particularly grave or serious.

"Putting aside the reckless wounding offence … they are best viewed as reflecting opportunistic, often unsuccessful, instances of sadly pathetic dishonesty or theft, and a related indifference to regulatory norms,'' he said in a ruling published yesterday.

"In reality, all of Mr ToTK's offences are a consequence of a drug addiction into which he drifted, and lacked the motivation to control, despite the distress he must have known he was causing his parents."

He said Mr ToTK - who had relied on welfare benefits when not working as a roofer and painter - would face considerable hardship living in Iran.

"For him to be isolated in Iran … could well be a crushing outcome for Mr ToTK, in terms of his emotional and psychological wellbeing,'' Mr Taylor said.

The Christian man, now aged 36, was granted refugee status and permanent residency in 2012 after fleeing Iran with his parents to escape religious persecution by Muslims.

He has 25 convictions for offences including drug possession, breaking and entering, shoplifting, drink driving and wounding.

In 2017, he was given a 12-month suspended jail sentence for reckless wounding, after stabbing a man with a boxcutter during a fight at Fairfield Railway Station in Sydney.

The victim suffered a small stab wound to his shoulder, and scratches.

The AAT report said Mr ToTK had failed to complete a drug rehabilitation program.

A psychologist who examined Mr ToTK told the AAT he had been a victim of bullying and assault, including sexual assault, in Iran due to his Christianity.

The psychologist said Mr ToTK had been using ice to "self medicate'' to ease the stress and anxiety of his memories about Iran.

"The proper conclusion to draw is that Mr ToTK is at significant risk of re-offending,'' Mr Taylor said in his ruling.

"I also accept both the sincerity of Mr ToTk's currently professed desire to address his drug use problem, and the likelihood that he will have the support and assistance of his parents, and other family members, in giving effect to that desire.''