A fresh Immigration New Zealand (INZ) probe into the drug smuggler found he was liable for deportation on grounds not previously considered.
However, documents released under the Official Information Act show the minister would already have had access to that information.
I don’t imagine the courts will be impressed with an argument that the Minister didn’t read the entire file and failed to notice Sroubek had criminal convictions in the Czech Republic also.
On page five of the 12 page case file summary, it was indicated that Sroubek was an excluded person because of his convictions in the Czech Republic. But Lees-Galloway claims he was not asked to consider convictions outside New Zealand.
I guess it is good that Lees-Galloway now realised he made a terrible decision but legally his reversal looks suspect and the legal action is likely to take years and cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. If he had done the right thing the first time, none of this would have happened.
However, when a reporter pointed out that this information was in the file he received and asked why he did not include in his decision, he said: “I don’t know every single detail of the Immigration Act. I had been asked to consider his liability for false identification and for the conviction in New Zealand. Whilst it was material to the overall decision, I didn’t look at that and say, ‘aha, he should be an excluded person’. That wasn’t something I was considering at that time.”
He said he knew what is in the file, and that Sroubek had been convicted, but at the time that information that was not relevant to making the overall decision.
When asked if he did not understand the Immigration Act act, he said that was not the case.
That appears exactly to be the case.