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Family Law

Airport watch list loophole saga continues

By August 16, 2017No Comments

By Gianna Huesch

We previously wrote about the apparent problem discovered in the administration of the airport watchlist system, when a jailed violent father was recently able to place his daughter on a no-fly list due to a lack of disclosure on the application form coupled with the fact that no background checks are made of applicants for the interim travel orders. The matter has raised fears it is “a loophole that could be exploited by people in a similar position to this offender”.

The original news reports on the matter stated that the watchlist application forms did not require the man to disclose his conviction or the fact that he had abused his daughter: “Nowhere on his application form did he have to declare he was convicted of attacking his child”.  Subsequent reports however explain that the forms were actually filled out incorrectly by the man’s lawyer:

“When asked in a notice of risk if a child party to the proceedings had been abused, his lawyer answered no. That’s despite being convicted for assaulting his daughter and threatening to kill her.

“He was also asked if there had been family violence by a party to the proceedings or any other person who is relevant to the proceedings. Again his application said no. That’s despite him being convicted for family violence related offences that relate specifically to his ex-wife and daughter.

“In his affidavit, which accompanied the application, he declared he was in prison, having been convicted of family violence offences, but said he could not recall the exact charges. This apparent discrepancy between his affidavit and his application did not prevent the interim order being made. It is not known whether the man’s Legal Aid lawyers knew the details of his offences, or made enquiries about them.”

Victoria Legal Aid has since admitted this was a “significant mistake”, blaming it on human error, and has launched an internal inquiry into the incident. But the Opposition now wants a broader external review to uncover “systemic shortcomings within the system”.

Sources: http://www.9news.com.au/national/2017/07/13/10/27/legal-aid-victoria-silent-on-airport-watch-list-case and http://www.9news.com.au/national/2017/07/14/19/46/calls-for-legal-inquiry-after-watch-list-case-bungle

Do you need assistance with a family law matter? Please contact Canberra family lawyer Cristina Huesch or one of our other experienced solicitors here at Alliance Family Law on (02) 6223 2400.

Please note our blogs are not legal advice. For information on how to obtain the correct legal advice, please contact Alliance.

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