One must respect that the talanted Deborah Manning and co have had a huge number of wins against the Government in the Ahmed Zaoui case. I’d rather not be paying for it, but as an advocate she has done amazingly well.
As most will know, the Supreme Court has ruled Zaoui can apply for bail, and to stop further “oppressive” delays have said they will hear the application themselves. It is inevitable he will be granted bail.
I actually don’t think this is a bad outcome, even though I do actually think he should be deported and not given refugee status. I’ll explain.
I think Zaoui is ineligible for refugee status on the simple grounds he has multiple criminal convictions overseas. Regardless of terrorist links, that is enough to deny him entry. And there are dozens of countries he could go and live in, without having to return to Algeria. He has voluntarily chosen to leave several perfectly good countries.
I do believe that he had some logistical involement in terrorist groups. Not direct involvement in killing people, but providing things like forged documents which he seems to specialise in.
Now in the NZ context, I do not think he provides a particular threat to our security. He is not going to go and set up a group to start blowing things up in NZ. Having him out on bail is not going to be a threat to anyone.
The problem for the Government is this is the first time a security certificate has been issued, and no-one thought it would take two years to get a final decision. Thus the statute did not allow for release until a final decision is made. The Supreme Court has basically said well there is a common law right to bail regardless.
So as I said I hope that eventually Zaoui is not allowed to stay, simply because he voluntarily left perfectly good other countries to come here and he does have multiple convictions. But I do not think two years in jail awaiting a decision is a great look (even noting he can end it at any time be leaving NZ) and hell we have far far worse people walking the streets thanks to Labour’s early parole laws.