Australian Labour Party calls for judicial inquiry of Haneef’s case

November 14th, 2007 - 8:16 am ICT by admin  
Burke was responding to a report in today’s newspapers of an email of a secret plan between immigration department officials and the Australian Federal Police (AFP) to keep Haneef behind bars even after a Brisbane magistrate had granted him bail.

At the time, the Labour Party supported Immigration Minister Kevin Andrew’s decision, saying the advice it had from the AFP would have made it come to the same decision.

“On the basis of what I was given, I was able to say that if that were the information in total, then a reasonable person could have reached the decision the minister reached,” Burke told Sky News.

But that support was now wavering, he added.

“Since that time each piece of information that Kevin Andrews has put out has either been contradicted by later leaked documents or contradicted by Andrews himself. That is why we called for a judicial inquiry,” he said.

Burke said an inquiry could help Australians regain faith in the country’s immigration laws.

Andrews has denied that he had any knowledge of the email, while the AFP said that it was part of “normal operational contingency planning”.

Confidential emails between top Australian Federal Police (AFP) agents and a senior public servant advising Andrews indicate that there was a secret plan to thwart the decision of the magistrate to release Haneef on bail.

The emails show that the AFP was aware of a weekend “contingency” plan to ensure that Haneef remains in jail if Andrews revokes his visa under the Migration Act in case Brisbane magistrate Jacqui Payne granted bail to the Indian doctor.

The emails, obtained under Freedom of Information laws by Dr Haneef’s lawyers, show that the AFP was uncertain on July 14, after an initial bail hearing whether Dr Haneef would be freed two days later by Payne.

The first email, written by Brisbane-based counter-terrorism co-ordinator David Craig to commanders of the AFP’s counter-terrorism unit at 5.22 p.m. on July 14 states: “Contingencies for containing Haneef and detaining him under the Migration Act, if he is granted bail on Monday, are in place as per arrangements today.”

Under the Migration Act, such a contingency plan necessarily needed to involve Andrews.

The email was forwarded at 8.10 a.m. on July 16 by agent Luke Morrish, the AFP’s Canberra-based acting manager for domestic counter-terrorism, to top Immigration Department public servant Peter White.

White, the department’s Assistant Secretary responsible for character assessment and war crimes screening, gave Andrews comprehensive advice on his powers and his authority to cancel Dr Haneef’s visa and keep him in custody on the basis of secret evidence.

About three hours after Agent Morrish forwarded the email to White on July 16, Payne granted Dr Haneef bail over a terrorism-related charge.

The release of the emails comes amid continuing calls for a royal commission-style inquiry, three months after the case against Dr Haneef collapsed in disgrace amid disclosures in The Australian of serious errors by police and prosecutors from the Commonwealth DPP.

Andrews, who has repeatedly maintained that Dr Haneef failed a “character test” arising from his connection to his second cousins, is instructing lawyers for the Crown to appeal against a Federal Court decision that Dr Haneef’s visa should be reinstated. (ANI)

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