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Irishman kicked out of WA over offences

AAP logoAAP 8/08/2016 By Greg Roberts

The deportation of a 26-year-old Irishman from Australia on character grounds after he was kept in a detention centre has been criticised by his lawyer.

Bernard Frederick Lee is back in Ireland after being escorted on a plane by two staff members from Serco, which runs the Yongah Hill Immigration Detention Centre.

Mr Lee has been in Australia for more than seven years and has an Australian girlfriend, Amal, but will struggle to ever return to Australia.

The Department of Immigration refused his application for a resident's visa, which triggered the cancellation of his work visa.

Rather than appeal the decision and potentially wait months in detention, he returned to Ireland.

The taxpayer-funded trip involving flying three people from Perth to Dublin and two back again would have cost more than $10,000.

The department said in its decision that it had deemed Mr Lee an unacceptable risk of committing more crimes in Australia.

Mr Lee has been convicted multiple times in Ireland and Australia of drink driving and unlicensed driving offences and giving police false details, which he did not declare when he entered the country.

But he had turned his life around and not been convicted of an offence for three years, nor ever been locked up or convicted of a crime involving violence, his Perth lawyer Alisdair Putt said.

Mr Putt said it was a complete overreaction by immigration agents to turn up at his Perth house without notice to arrest him and detain him in an immigration centre 100km from Perth.

"As a former criminal lawyer I don't think it was particularly convincing reasoning ... this guy has certainly changed his lifestyle around in terms of becoming keen on fitness, a trainer, things like that," he told AAP.

"I can understand why you might do it with someone with a much more serious criminal record involving violence but these are relatively minor, non-custodial sentences so he's not really a high risk of disappearing underground."

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