Yesterday’s Age reported the case of Andrew Moore, who died in England of a heroin overdose. Two days before he died, Moore had been removed from Australia after his visa had been cancelled on character grounds.
The interesting aspect of this case is that, as in a number of similar cases in recent years, Moore was in all but law an Australian. Originally from Scotland, he’d lived here for 32 of his 43 years. But he had never taken out Australian citizenship. People in this situation who are convicted of a crime and sentenced to imprisonment of 12 months or more can have their visas cancelled, and be sent back to the country they originally came from.
Moore’s crime – manslaughter – was a lot more serious than just one involving a year in jail, and he was a junkie and a drunk as well. Unlike other ‘Australians’ sent back to their birth countries, he could at least speak its language. But this practice of throwing people out of the country on what looks like a technicality does seem problematic to me.
It means that imprisoning long-term non-residents can be tantamount to also sentencing them to transportation. Continue reading “Should we be sentencing criminals to transportation?”