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The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) denied Junaid* Australian citizenship in April 2017 for not fulfilling the "good character" criteria.
Following the rejection, Junaid appealed the decision with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal of Australia (AAT) which affirmed the department’s decision this month.
During the hearing, the tribunal heard in October 2015, the applicant was convicted in the Blacktown Local Court of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and was sentenced to an 18-month good behaviour bond while the charge was recorded as involving domestic violence.
History of domestic violence
In July 2015, the applicant had been driving when he hurt his wife after an argument, causing a slight injury under her eye and bleeding to her lip.
The police report states the accused got into an argument about the wife's family when she, feeling upset, lightly pushed the accused's shoulder in an attempt to make the accused stop.
The accused stopped the motor vehicle on the side of the road and hit the woman on the face.
“The accused turned towards the victim and using his hands hit the victim on the face. The victim closed her eyes in fear. The victim felt immediate pain to her facial area as a result. After a short time, the accused stopped hitting the victim. The victim used her mobile phone to contact triple zero,” the report states.
The accused was arrested, charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm and served with an apprehended violence order (AVO).
Soon after another domestic incident took place, and the AVO against the man was amended to include the condition he could not reside inside the home.
In October 2015, the court convicted and sentenced him to an 18-month good behaviour bond.
"My husband is a good moral character person"
During the Tribunal hearing in February this year, the applicant's wife said she was having a difficult time following her mother’s death and was suffering from depression.
She also told the tribunal the applicant was a loving and caring husband and father to their children, stating: “[W]e have never had any serious issues since we are (sic) married”.
“I can assure you my husband is a good moral character person and also very hardworking. He has never ever been involved in any kind of trouble,” she said in a statement.
Several people testified for the couple including their GP, friends, school teacher and a neighbour who claimed the couple was living a normal, happy life.
However, the DHA responded that the applicant had failed to disclose his offences in his citizenship application in February 2016.
The applicant said a friend who was visiting from overseas and was unaware of his criminal offences had helped him to fill out the application form and he had signed without seeing it.
The tribunal found the man’s conviction for a domestic violence offence is not consistent with the requirement in the Citizenship Policy that an applicant not be violent and not cause harm to others.
The tribunal also found the man gave incorrect answers in relation to his criminal record.
"Does not meet good character requirement"
The tribunal concluded the applicant did not satisfy the "good character" requirement and affirmed the department’s decision.
However, it noted this conclusion did not preclude the applicant from making a further application for citizenship in the future.
“It may be that with the passage of time, he will be able to demonstrate that he does meet the ‘good character’ requirement for the grant of Australian citizenship,” the tribunal said.
*Name changed to protect the identity.