Justice denied in people smuggling case

The Perth Magistrates Court has grouped a 16-year-old boy to stand trial on charges of people smuggling with two men he has never met and who were not even on the same boat.

The boy told WA-based human rights activist Gerry Georgatos he was born in 1995. From a poor family, he was hired to fish on a boat going from Indonesia to Australia. He said the immigration department insisted he was born in 1991 on the basis of a wrist x-ray. They had not contacted his mother.

Senior lecturer in Medical Imaging at Curtin University Luke Barclay told the April 6 West Australian that wrist X-rays were not a fail-safe measure of a person's age.

"The approach is fraught with inaccuracies," he said.

The Perth Indonesian Vice Consul told Georgatos that her contact with the family confirmed to her he indeed was born in 1995. Where doubt exists regarding age, an age determination hearing should be pursued. Yet this has not been done.

One of the other men on trial is a Tamil who came here directly from Sri Lanka by boat. He had twice rejected the Sinhalese interpreter he was assigned, as the translation was inadequate.

He said a lot of what was said at his pre-trial hearing was incorrect, but was told there was no other interpreter available. He was learning English as fast as he could in prison so he could understand what was happening.

The trial is set for August 26.


We just love jailing everyone don't we? Never got past the prison colony attitude.

yep let's just encourage these criminals to break the law and enter our country without paperwork, without cause and without penalty. You left wing whingers make me sick. Go live overseas with them.

Which criminals? You mean the ones breaking the international refugee convention? The law of the sea (Tampa)? The ones providing support to genocide in Sri Lanka? What about the Malaysian government, banning the whole opposition just before the elections - great democratic country, just where we should be sending vulnerable refugees, right? I reckon we ought to send you there since you're such an enthusiast for the system. I've got a spare room I'd give to a refugee if they needed it, I wouldn't give you the dog kennel.

If you like our work, become a supporter

Green Left is a vital social-change project and aims to make all content available online, without paywalls. With no corporate sponsors or advertising, we rely on support and donations from readers like you.

For just $5 per month get the Green Left digital edition in your inbox each week. For $10 per month get the above and the print edition delivered to your door. You can also add a donation to your support by choosing the solidarity option of $20 per month.

Freecall now on 1800 634 206 or follow the support link below to make a secure supporter payment or donation online.