Crime

Deportations set to soar under proposed laws

Immigration experts have warned the federal government’s proposed changes to the Migration Act could see the number of non-citizens deported increase five-fold.

Australia’s Minister for Immigration David Coleman introduced legislation to allow the government to cancel the visas of people who have been convincted of a crime that carries a maximum sentence of at least two years, even if they never served time in prison.

Minister Coleman said tightening character tests based on criminal conduct was necessary to protect the community from harmful people.

Immigration Minister David Coleman introduced the legislation in July.

Immigration Minister David Coleman introduced the legislation in July.

In a Senate Committee submission, immigration researchers said the changes would impact those “who are unlikely to be an ongoing threat to the Australian community”, with many non-citizens potentially deported for non-jail time offences such as common assault, which frequently results in the lesser punishments of a fine or community correction order.

Researchers including Abul Rizvi, former deputy secretary of the Department of Immigration, said a hardened character test would “immediately expand the number of people failing”, especially as the legislation could be applied retrospectively, and that it would “exacerbate the divide between citizens and non-citizens”.

Read More: Irish-born Australian resident loses court appeal against deportation

The Migration Act was last changed in 2014 under Tony Abbott’s prime ministership, when amendments allowed the immigration minister to cancel a non-citizen’s visa based on association with groups involved in criminal conduct, sexually based offences involving a child, crimes against humanity, and other offences of national and international security concern.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been vocal in opposing the current policy under which people who have lived almost all of their lives in Australia can be sent back to the countries of their birth.

Ms Ardern said the issue had corroded the political relationship between her country and Australia.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has criticised Australia’s deportation policies.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has criticised Australia’s deportation policies.

From 2012 to 2013, 76 New Zealanders’ 501 Visas were cancelled.

The figure jumped to 1,277 from 2016 to 2017 after the passing of the 2014 amendments.

The new stricter character test proposed by Minister Coleman would be the first to allow deportation of an immigrant who has not served a prison sentence, and could see thousands more non-citizens forced to leave behind their Australian lives and families.

Federal Court decision: Irish ex-bikie to be deported

The Federal Court has thrown out an Irish ex-bikie’s appeal to avoid deportation.

Dublin-born Paul Pennie, who has lived in Australia for 40 years, said his representations in favour of having his visa reinstated had not been given “proper, genuine and realistic” consideration by the Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton in his first Court hearing.

These included fears he would experience homelessness, unemployment, and lack of medical care for his mental health and heart issues if returned to Ireland.

Appeal judges Justice Davies, Derrington and Colvin disagreed, declaring, “no error is discernible in the primary judge’s reasons.”

“The minister accepted that he may experience significant difficulties…but was of the view that Mr Pennie would have a level of access to healthcare, social welfare and housing comparable to that which is available in Australia.”

The appeal judges agreed with the original judgement not to reinstate Mr Pennie’s visa.

The appeal judges agreed with the original judgement not to reinstate Mr Pennie’s visa.

Mr Pennie filed submissions stating that the views expressed by the Minister were incorrect, given that he would not be eligible for job seekers allowance or state pension in Ireland as he has lived in Australia since childhood, however the appeal judges found the minister had “no legal duty” to ensure the 46-year-old would be entitled to welfare.

Earlier Story: ‘It will destroy us’, family speaks out about son’s imminent deportation

The judges said the minister’s concerns that the Irish-Australian was at risk of engaging in further criminal conduct were reasonable, as although Mr Pennie said he had severed ties with the Bandidos Motorcycle Club, those involved with the outlaw group were still pressuring him to reoffend.

“In those circumstances, it was open to the minister to reason that separation from the Club was ongoing…not completed.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Home Affairs said ‘non-citizens’ who engage in criminal activity or other serious conduct of concern such as involvement in outlaw motorcycle gangs “can expect to have their visas considered for cancellation”.

Mr Pennie was sentenced to prison in 2015 for possession of methylamphetamine with intent to sell or supply, leading to the cancellation of his visa in 2016.

Following his appeal dismissal Mr Pennie wrote on Facebook from a Perth detention centre that the “putrid system” was destroying families’ lives.

The Pennie family said Paul (left) struggled to cope after the sudden death of his brother Keith (right).

The Pennie family said Paul (left) struggled to cope after the sudden death of his brother Keith (right).

His father Gerry Pennie said the decision had left Paul and the family devastated: “He just can’t get himself together, he couldn’t even talk to me...”

In a letter to Minister Dutton, Gerry Pennie wrote, “We have already been forced to endure…burying our youngest son Keith.

“Should you cancel Paul’s visa, we would again be put through the unbearable grief of losing yet another one of our children.”

Mr Pennie said his son had contributed to society through hard work since his teens, holding jobs as a hospital attendant and security guard, and was prepared to atone for his wrongdoing.

Paul Pennie will leave behind his elderly parents, sisters, and nieces and nephews when he leaves Australia in late November.

‘It will destroy us’, family speaks out about son’s imminent deportation

The Irish family of a former Bandidos bikie is despairing at their son’s imminent deportation from Australia under a controversial policy.

Paul Pennie, 46, is awaiting a Federal Court appeal hearing to determine if he will be sent back to a country he barely knows after being sentenced to prison on charges including possession of methylamphetamine with intent to supply.

The Pennie family migrated to Australia in 1980 when Paul was only six. His father Gerry is worried his son’s deportation will have a devastating effect on the close-knit family.

“It would destroy us,” he said.

“He doesn’t know anyone in Ireland.”

Earlier Story: Irish-born ex-bikie faces deportation under controversial policy

Mr Pennie said his son’s battles, which ultimately led to his visa being cancelled in 2016, stemmed from the sudden death of his younger brother and a workplace injury that left him unable to continue his job as a security guard.

The Australian government deported more than 1,000 people between 2016 and 2018 on character grounds, a policy recently criticised by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has cancelled thousands of visas on ‘character’ grounds.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has cancelled thousands of visas on ‘character’ grounds.

The issue was having a “corrosive” impact on Australia’s relationship” with New Zealand, Ms Ardern said. She argued that deportations should not be enforced after an individual has lived in a country for 10 years.

Gerry Pennie emphasised that his son had never been charged with or engaged in violent crime, and had severed ties with the Bandidos bikie club.

“I know him as my son. He has never laid a hand on anybody. Never,” Mr Pennie said.

His son was allegedly nearly bashed to death by fellow bikie-connected inmates in prison after he refused to participate in a stabbing, his father said.

The Irish-Australian suffers from both mental health issues and heart disease, and is concerned about his ability to access and afford treatment should he be deported.

During Mr Pennie’s 2018 Federal Court hearing, the then Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Petter Dutton, said he accepted that Mr Pennie’s deportation would potentially exacerbate his psychological conditions “given his history of depression and suicidal ideation”, but that he would likely be able to access health support in Ireland as a habitual resident.

The Pennie family. (From left) Paul, who is facing deportation, his mum Evelyn Pennie, sister Clare Flint, dad Gerry, sister Karen Derrick and brother Keith.

The Pennie family. (From left) Paul, who is facing deportation, his mum Evelyn Pennie, sister Clare Flint, dad Gerry, sister Karen Derrick and brother Keith.

It is uncertain if Mr Pennie would satisfy the conditions necessary to be eligible for social assistance, because factors considered by Ireland’s Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection include the applicant’s intention to live in Ireland for the foreseeable future.

Mr Pennie has no desire to live in Ireland, where he has no ties, and his family is concerned he would not be able to independently establish a new life or find accommodation having been either incarcerated or in a detention centre since 2015.

Paul Pennie has guaranteed work with a friend’s lawn-mowing business if he is allowed to stay in Australia, the family said.

His sister Clare Flint accepted some Australians would believe deportation was necessary as part of a tough stance on crime, but she emphasised that other foreign criminals had avoided expulsion after being sentenced for more serious, violent crimes.

Early this year it was revealed that hundreds of immigrants who had their visas cancelled after committing crimes in Australia have been spared deportation, including a drug trafficker who had spent more than 10 years in prison.

“Put your feet in our shoes,” his sister says. “Everyone’s made mistakes, but Paul’s paying the ultimate price in losing his family.”

Irishman arrested at Sydney airport over road crash

A 22-year-old Irishman is due to face court next month charged over a crash in Sydney’s east at the weekend in which two men were seriously injured.

Officers from the Metropolitan Crash Investigation Unit (CIU) arrested a 22-year-old man at Sydney Airport about 9pm on Monday, on board a flight to Dublin.

The plane was preparing for take-off before police requested it return to the boarding gate where the man was arrested.

Police allege the man, who is reported to be from Donegal, was the driver of a Mazda 323 which hit a van parked on Burke Street, Chifley, about 2am on Saturday.

The 22-year-old Irishman was taken off a plane to Dublin by NSW Police.

The 22-year-old Irishman was taken off a plane to Dublin by NSW Police.

The driver and a back-seat passenger left the the vehicle while the 25-year-old front passenger and a 27-year-old rear-seat passenger were trapped before being freed by emergency personnel.

The younger man was taken to St George Hospital where he remains in a critical but stable condition. The older man was taken to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital where he remains in a serious but stable condition.

The man was taken to Prince of Wales Hospital where he was treated and released into the custody of a CIU officer.

He was taken to Mascot Police Station where he was charged with:

  • Dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm – drive manner dangerous

  • Fail to stop and assist after vehicle impact causing grievous bodily harm

  • Cause bodily harm by misconduct, in charge of motor vehicle (two counts)

  • Fail to stop and assist after impact cause injury (two counts)

  • Negligent driving (occasions grievous bodily harm), and,

  • Not give particulars to owner of damaged property.

He was refused police bail before appearing in Central Local Court yesterday where he was granted conditional bail to appear in Downing Centre Local Court on Thursday August 15.

Inquiries continue to locate the fourth man.

Boys, 14, found guilty of Dublin schoolgirl's murder

Ana Kriegel was just 14 when she was murdered by two boys her own age in Lucan, Co Dublin last year, a Dublin court has found.

Ana Kriegel was just 14 when she was murdered by two boys her own age in Lucan, Co Dublin last year, a Dublin court has found.

Two 14-year-old boys have been found guilty of the murder of 14-year-old Ana Kriegel in Co Dublin last year.

Both boys have been granted anonymity due to their age, and were referred to as Boy A and Boy B throughout the trial.

Boy A has also been found guilty of aggravated sexual assault. The boys are the youngest people in the history of the state to ever be convicted of murder.

The jury of eight men and four women deliberated for 14 hours and 25 minutes, after a six-week trial in Dublin's Central Criminal Court.

Ana Kriegel's naked body was found with a ligature around the neck in a derelict house in Lucan, Co Dublin, days after the 14 year-old went missing on May 14, 2018.

Former state pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy identified around 50 areas of injury on the schoolgirl's head and body, and concluded the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head and neck.

Ms Cassidy also said that there was evidence of penetration or attempted penetration of the vagina.

Geraldine Kriegel described her daughter Ana (above) as “a dream come true for us”.

Geraldine Kriegel described her daughter Ana (above) as “a dream come true for us”.

The jury foreman's hand shook as she handed over papers to the court clerk, before stating they had found both boys guilty on all the charges facing them respectively.

Justice Paul McDermott thanked the jury who he said "were brought off the street to consider these matters, which is all the more reason to express deep appreciation to you, I can't offer you anything but most the most sincere gratitude and excuse you all".

After the verdict, Ana's parents, Patric and Geraldine Kriegel hugged each other and their friends and wept in the court room.

Outside court, Mr Kriegel told media that their daughter Ana was "our strength".

Her mother said: "Ana was a dream come true for us, and she always will be. She'll stay in our hearts forever loved and forever cherished. We love you, Ana."

Boy B's father left the room immediately after the verdict, slamming the door, before returning shortly after, clapping and loudly stating: "An innocent child is going to prison."

Both Boy A and B's mothers wept and held their sons before they were taken by Gardai to detention.

Both boys have been remanded in detention until July 15.

Former Irish dance champion found dead in London

Adrian Murphy, 43, was a champion Irish dancer and instructor.

Adrian Murphy, 43, was a champion Irish dancer and instructor.

Two people have been arrested in London in connection with the suspicious death of a Kilkenny-man who spent a number of years teaching and performing Irish dance in Australia.

The body of Adrian Murphy, 43, was found at a block of flats in Battersea, London on June 4.

A post-mortem examination at St George's Hospital on June 6 failed to determine a cause of death.

Police said property was stolen from the premises where Mr Murphy was found. They also believe he had been using the gay dating app Grindr.

Mr Murphy was a seven time All-Ireland Irish dancing champion and produced and choreographed shows like Celtic Dance Force, Feet of Fire and FireDance The Show.

He performed around the world and, according to his website, set up the Adrian Murphy Academy of Dance across Australia and New Zealand before moving back to Europe, settling in London.

He is the youngest of seven children.

His brother Frank wrote on social media that Murphy died ‘unexpectedly’ at home.

He wrote a poem, saying: ‘I am thinking of you looking at the stars. The colours that you wore of gay with pride. Influenced not by those who disapproved. Your life a whirlwind of the brightest rainbow.’

Also Read: Heaven help Australian economy, says Irish finance guru

His death has been linked to an earlier allegation of rape at an address in Walthamstow, north-east London, on May 30.

In that incident, the 40-year-old victim became unconscious after he was allegedly drugged by a man he met on a social networking site and invited to his flat.

He was found later that day by a friend and taken to hospital, but has since been discharged.

His flat had been ransacked while he was unconscious and the Metropolitan Police have said property including laptops, mobile phones and cash were stolen.

A 24-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder, rape and theft on June 12.

He has since been bailed to attend a police station at a later date.

A 17-year-old girl was arrested earlier that day on suspicion of murder and theft and has since been released under investigation.

Detective Chief Inspector Rob Pack, from the Metropolitan Police's Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: "We have linked these two incidents through our suspects and our inquiries continue to establish the exact circumstances.

"We know the victim in the Walthamstow incident met the male suspect through a social networking site and we are investigating whether there is a similar connection in Mr Murphy's death.”

Sydney Irish actor on bail after alleged assault on police

Irish actor Kieren Noonan has been charged after an altercation with police on Saturday.

Irish actor Kieren Noonan has been charged after an altercation with police on Saturday.

An Irish actor, who has appeared in the hit Aussie soap Home and Away, has been charged with a string of offenses after a violent incident in Sydney’s Cargo Bar on Saturday night.

Cork native Keiren Noonan appeared before Parramatta Bail Court on Sunday via video link charged with assaulting police causing actual bodily harm, resisting arrest, offensive language and failing to quit licenced premises.

Noonan, 32, who appeared as Spike in five episodes of Home and Away, was granted bail.

NSW police say the Noonan became "intoxicated" and refused to leave the Darling Harbour bar.

It is alleged he got into a "physical altercation" with plain-clothes police who identified themselves to him as they asked him to leave.

Police said in a statement: "The officer immediately started bleeding from the nose, while other police arrested the man and conveyed him to Day Street Police Station."

Noonan - who travelled to Australia to work as an electrician before being spotted for a small role in the soap - said he was "really apologetic", according to the Daily Telegraph.

The 32-year-old actor said he will defend the charges.

The 32-year-old actor said he will defend the charges.

He told the court from his Surry Hills Police Centre holding cell: "Your honour can I give you my version of events. I would just like to say I’m really apologetic for what happened. I would never hit anybody especially not a female police officer."

His legal aid representative then stopped him, saying: "Mr Noonan if you could refrain from talking on the public record that’s in your best interest."

A NSW police spokesman said: "The officers, who were in plain clothes, identified themselves to the man who again failed to leave the venue.

"Police will allege that a physical altercation ensued when the man pushed one officer in the chest and punched another officer in the face."

The injured officer was conveyed to St Vincent’s Hospital where she was treated for a broken nose, swelling to the face and sore teeth.

Speaking to reporters outside the police station where he spent the night, Noonan said he would be defending the charge.

“I would never hit anybody, especially not a female and especially not a female officer,” he said.

A court date for his reappearance has yet to be set.



Sydney Irishman avoids jail over air-rage incident

Leroy Hyland took four times the recommended dose of sleeping pills on a flight from Los Angeles to Sydney.

Leroy Hyland took four times the recommended dose of sleeping pills on a flight from Los Angeles to Sydney.

A 26-year-old Irishman has avoided a jail sentence after pleading guilty to a range of charges associated with an air-rage incident in October.

Leroy Hyland took four times the recommended dose of sleeping pills before he covered his head in a blanket, pushed a flight attendant and tried to storm the cockpit on an Los Angeles to Sydney Delta Airlines flight. He had been in the US to attend the Conor McGregor fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov in Las Vegas.

Hyland, who lives in Randwick in Sydney's eastern suburbs and is on a temporary working visa, was carrying an 'unidentifiable black object' when he told the flight attendants he had been robbed of his wallet, passport and phone. The flight attendants offered to accompany Hyland back to his seat to find his supposedly missing possessions, Sydney's Downing Centre Local Court heard on Tuesday.

“At this time, using both of his hands, the defendant gave [one flight attendant] a hard shove to his shoulder causing the flight attendant to fall backwards onto [the second cabin crew],' a statement of facts said. “The defendant ran towards the cockpit door and began beating on the door with his fists.”

The banging was loud enough for the captain to hear and internal security procedures were activated.

United States air marshals were forced to restrain Hyland for the remainder of the flight.

“In an attempt to get away from the air marshal, the defendant turned and jumped over seat 6B into the adjacent aisle, stepping on the passenger seated in seat 6C,” the statement of facts said.

Eventually the air marshals were able to restrain Hyland and he spent the rest of the trip handcuffed next to them until the plan touched down in Sydney.

Hyland was deeply ashamed of his conduct, defence lawyer David Newham told the court.

“There's definitely been a lot of soul-searching for My Hyland after this very, very regrettable event that occurred last year,' Mr Newham said.

The court heard Hyland had taken two tablets of the over-the-counter sleeping pill Unisom, then when he felt no effect swallowed two more.

Magistrate Julie Huber said if Hyland had not taken the tablets it was unlikely the disturbance would have occurred.

“Of course, you took four times the recommended dosage,” Ms Huber said, according to the Daily Mail.

“You took it upon yourself to take four times the amount simply because you wanted to sleep. In many respects it is no different from having that extra glass of scotch or alcohol.”

Ms Huber noted Hyland's contrition and that the had co-operated with the air marshals once he was handcuffed.

“It would appear that this is an unusual event and that as far as personal deterrence is concerned the requirement is relatively low,” she said.

Hyland was facing a potential penalty of a $10,000 fine and two years in prison.

Ms Huber fined Hyland $4,000 for behaving in an offensive and disorderly manner and imposed two community corrections orders of two years and three years with a total of 550 hours of community service.

Irish-born ex-bikie faces deportation under controversial policy

An Irish-born former bikie has lost his legal fight against deportation.

An Irish-born former bikie has lost his legal fight against deportation.

An Irish-born ex-bikie, who has lived here since he was six years old, faces deportation under a controversial Australian government policy.

Paul John Pennie’s visa was cancelled in 2016 and his appeal against deportation was rejected in the Federal Court last week.

Pennie, who moved to Australia with his parents in 1980, was sentenced in July 2015 to four-and-a-half years in a WA prison for charges including possessing methylamphetamine with intent to sell or supply and wilful destruction of evidence.

In January 2016, a delegate of the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton cancelled Pennie’s visa, ruling he did not pass the character test due to his criminal record which included being a former vice president of the Bandidos bikies gang.

After the minister refused to revoke the cancellation, Pennie, now 44, took his case to the Federal Court but last Thursday his application was rejected.

According to the Federal Court’s transcript, Pennie has significant family ties in Australia and essentially none in Ireland. His parents, who live in Perth, are elderly and he is very close to his sister and her family.

His sister supported his appeal, telling the court that deportation to Ireland “would destroy him”.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has criticised Australia’s policy of deporting people who moved to Australia as children.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has criticised Australia’s policy of deporting people who moved to Australia as children.

In her judgement, Justice Katrina Banks-Smith referred directly to the level of access to healthcare, social welfare and housing support in Ireland which, she said, was similar to Australia.

A submission by Minister Dutton to the case asserted: “I accept that Mr Pennie departed Ireland as a young child and would experience significant difficulties in establishing and adjusting to life as an adult in Ireland. I also accept Mr Pennie's immediate family and social supports are in Australia and he may experience significant emotional and practical hardships upon return to Ireland. I find that Mr Pennie's psychological conditions may be exacerbated given his history of depression and suicidal ideation.

“However,” he added. “I find that as an Irish citizen Mr Pennie will have a level of access to healthcare, social welfare and housing support that is similar to other citizens of Ireland.”

Ireland’s Ambassador to Australia Breandán Ó Caollaí said he could not discuss individual cases but added: “Any Irish citizen who is deported to Ireland would have the same rights and entitlements as any other Irish citizen in terms of healthcare, access to housing and social services.”

He added: “The guidelines regarding the determination of habitual residence address the issue of returning emigrants very specifically. The guidelines state: “A person who had previously been habitually resident in the State and who moved to live and work in another country and then resumes his/her long-term residence in the State may be regarded as being habitually resident immediately on his/her return to the State.””

The Ambassador also said NGOs like Crosscare and Safe Home Ireland “provide advice and assistance to returning emigrants”.

Pennie, who suffers from heart failure (he suffered cardiac failure in 2014), Crohn's disease, depression and chronic pain, had claimed he feared a lack of medical care for his health issues in Ireland and that he would be homeless.

Since 2014, more than 4,000 people have been stripped of their Australian visa and returned to their country of birth, regardless of how long ago they left.

The policy has been criticised by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

In February, following a meeting with her Australian counterpart Scott Morrison, she said: “I’ve made it clear that New Zealand has no issue with Australia taking a dim view of newly arrived non-citizens committing crimes … but equally, the New Zealand people have a dim view of the deportation of people who move to Australia as children and have grown up there.”

Is the Irish government concerned that Australia is compelling people with criminal backgrounds and no particular support network in Ireland to reside there?

Ambassador Ó Caollaí said: “The majority of deportations of Irish citizens dealt with by the Embassy involve comparatively recently arrived Irish citizens who have overstayed their visa and the circumstances [outlined] don’t arise.”

Jail for man who bashed two Irish backpackers

Two Irish backpackers were bashed by a man armed with a baseball bat.

Two Irish backpackers were bashed by a man armed with a baseball bat.

A Queensland man has been jailed for five years for the brutal bashing of two Irish backpackers who have been left with lifetime health issues.

Ashley John Moss pleased not guilty to grievous bodily harm and assault occasioning bodily harm but a jury in Cairns District Court found him guilty on Friday, March 15.

Moss hit Irish backpackers Owen Fogarty and Daniel McDermott in the head with a metal baseball bat after they got into an argument in front of his Mossman home in 2017.

The group of backpackers went to confront the father of three after he assaulted one of their friends earlier in the night, and the argument escalated.

Judge Dean Morzone told the court Moss' response was "grossly disproportionate, excessive and unreasonable", according to the ABC report.

"There was antagonistic behaviour between those in your yard and the tourists in response to the earlier assault and things became heated," he said.

"None [of the tourists] entered your yard and you could have retreated inside instead you took the time to collect a metal bat.”

After receiving emergency medical treatment in Australia, both Mr Fogarty and Mr McDermott returned to Ireland.

Mr McDermott lost hearing in his right ear and suffered tinnitus and seizures as a result of the bashing.

He was also on the wait list for a cochlear implant.

"His long-term prognosis is unclear," Judge Morzone said.

"He couldn't work for 10 weeks and still has a scar on his head. He also gets nervous in large groups and says he gets flashbacks to that night."

Moss broke down as he was sentenced.

"Your sister describes you as protective, kind and caring," Judge Morzone noted.

"Your otherwise good character is marred by a criminal history impacted by drugs and alcohol."

Moss was sentenced to five years in prison and will be eligible for parole on September 16, 2021.

Three Irish nationals arrested trying to flee Australia

NSW detectives with the 20-year-old Irish national who was extradited from Victoria to NSW to face charges. Picture: NSW Police

NSW detectives with the 20-year-old Irish national who was extradited from Victoria to NSW to face charges. Picture: NSW Police

Three Irish nationals have been arrested, charged and detained by police over an alleged roofing scam.

One 20-year-old male was extradited from Melbourne to Sydney to face charges relating to the alleged scam.

He was arrested by Australian Federal Police at Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport as he tried to board a flight to Shanghai, China.

He, along with two others, were charged by Strike Force Denain, a St George Police Area Command investigation into a series of alleged frauds, targeting elderly home owners. 

On Thursday March 7, another 20-year-old Irish national, bound for the United Kingdom, was arrested at Sydney Airport by Australian Federal Police.

Placed into custody, police allegedly discovered large amounts of cash and jewellery in the arrested man’s luggage.

He was charged with aggravated break and enter and denied police bail.

St George detectives quickly established that an alleged scam was underway and would continue the next day at a home in Bexley in the southern suburbs of Sydney.

It’s alleged the detectives contacted and warned the home owner, a 72-year-old man.

Following further inquiries, police arrested a 22-year-old Irish national at Sydney airport as he tried to board a flight to Qatar at 8.20pm on Saturday March 9.

A search of his luggage allegedly uncovered a large amount of cash and jewellery.

He was charged with fraud and deal in proceeds of crime; and refused police bail.

Refused bail, he was expected to appear today in the Sutherland Local Court.

NSW Police say they are looking for a fourth Irish male.

Conor McGregor arrested and charged in Miami

Conor McGregor’s mug shot from Miami police.

Conor McGregor’s mug shot from Miami police.

Conor McGregor was charged with felony strong-armed robbery and misdemeanor criminal mischief after an altercation with a fan early on Monday morning local time, according to the Miami Beach police.

The Dubliner allegedly “slapped” the phone out of a man’s hand – who had attempted to take the 30-year-old Irish fighter's picture outside of a Miami Beach night club around 5am on Monday.

McGregor allegedly proceeded to stomp on the mobile phone several times, according to the police report. McGregor then picked up the smashed phone and walked away. 

The incident was caught on surveillance cameras and McGregor was arrested later on Monday at his Miami Beach home. The Miami-Herald was first to report the news.

McGregor was arrested last April and faced multiple charges related to his attack on a bus ahead of a UFC event in Brooklyn. Prosecutors eventually agreed to drop two felonies and other charges as part of a plea deal McGregor agreed to in July. 

The plea agreement did not include a probation term.

Sydney Irish air rage accused 'overdosed' on sleeping pills

Leroy Hyland was restrained on a flight from Los Angeles to Sydney after attending the Conor McGregor fight in Las Vegas in October. Picture: Facebook

Leroy Hyland was restrained on a flight from Los Angeles to Sydney after attending the Conor McGregor fight in Las Vegas in October. Picture: Facebook

An Irishman who attacked a crew member on a flight back from the Conor McGregor fight in Las Vegas had taken an excessive dose of sleeping tablets, a court has heard.

Leroy Thomas Hyland took quadruple the recommended US dosage of a sleeping pill which he had never previously consumed during a flight from Los Angeles to Sydney on October 10th last year.

The 26-year-old then “woke up in a freaked-out state” and believed that passengers were gang members and had stolen his wallet, passport and phone.

Mr Hyland, who is on bail, has pleaded guilty to three charges in relation to a disturbance on Delta Air Lines flight DL41 from Los Angeles to Sydney on October 10 last year.

He pleaded guilty to behaving in an offensive and disorderly manner on an aircraft, common assault and assaulting/threatening with violence/intimidating aircraft crew.

The 26-year-old appeared before Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney on Tuesday where his lawyer said he took an adverse reaction to sleeping pills taken after “an overseas catch-up trip to Las Vegas to watch the Conor McGregor fight.”

Mr Hyland ran out of the usual sleeping tablets he took for long-haul flights and purchased sleeping pills which a shop assistant suggested would “really knock him out” for the 14 hour flight from LA to Sydney.

He initially took two pills but didn’t feel much effect so he took a further two tablets which is quadruple the recommended US dosage, according to his lawyer.

He then fell asleep but woke an hour later and “the nightmare begins.”

Hyland travelled to Las Vegas to watch Irish UFC fighter Conor McGregor in action.

Hyland travelled to Las Vegas to watch Irish UFC fighter Conor McGregor in action.

Mr Hyland was in a “freaked out state” and believed other passengers were gang members and had robbed his belongings, the court heard.

His lawyer said: “This was the first time he had taken this type of sleeping pill and he had no prior knowledge of its effects.”

The Irishman had a blanket over his head “to hide from those he believed were targeting him” and a flight attendant said he was “rambling about getting robbed.”

He believed the flight attendants were part of the group that had stolen his belongings telling them ‘you are part of it, you are one of them.’

The court heard Mr Hyland was disorientated and told crew members: “Someone is trying to steal my identity. I don’t know who to trust.”

Mr Hyland’s lawyer said he was frightened by the situation in which he found himself and at one stage shouted: ‘Help, help’ in a thick Irish accent which may not have been understood.

A doctor’s report tendered to court concluded that Mr Hyland’s behaviour could have been caused by taking an excessive number of sleeping tablets.

After the incident on-board, Mr Hyland was restrained for the remaining 10 hours of the flight and arrested when the plane landed at Sydney Airport where he “appeared very confused” and didn’t seem to remember what had happened on the flight.

His girlfriend was concerned and took him to hospital that night and the court heard he “wasn’t right until 7am the next day.”

Mr Hyland’s lawyer told the court the 26-year-old works 60 hours a week as a sheet metal worker and the act was “so out of left field, there’s a low to zero risk of him re-offending.”

He said: “This man is worthy of a second chance” and asked the court not to jail him.

“He made a mistake and it’s not going to happen again,” he added.

He said it had always been Mr Hyland’s dream to “live and work in Australia” and he hoped to apply for permanent residency in the future and a criminal conviction put this dream “at risk.”

The acting magistrate said she accepted that Mr Hyland was otherwise of “good character” and “didn’t take the tablets with the view that this would occur.”

But she found the offences were “very serious” and asked for a sentencing report to be prepared before she passes sentence.

The case was adjourned until April 16 to allow for the preparation of this report.

Mr Hyland was supported in court by his brother who travelled from Ireland to attend the hearing.

His employer, his partner and a close friend all provided character references to the court.

A victim impact statement from the US flight attendant who was attacked by Mr Hyland was also submitted to court.

Irishman escapes conviction after festival drug arrest

An Irish tourist has escaped conviction after being arrested with ten MDMA capsules.

An Irish tourist has escaped conviction after being arrested with ten MDMA capsules.

An Irish tourist arrested with 10 MDMA capsules at a music festival in Sydney on Sunday has faced court.

David Crean, 32, was one of ten people arrested for drug supply at the Ultra Music festival in Parramatta.

He was charged with supplying a prohibited drug after a sniffer dog sat down next to him when he entered Parramatta Park at about 1.45pm, according to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Mr Crean, who was reportedly on a two-week holiday to Australia, escaped conviction after he argued the party drug is "not strong enough" in Australia and all of the pills were for his personal use.

According to police evidence tendered in court, Mr Crean was "nervous" and "visibly shaking" when he was spoken to by police, and when an officer asked "be honest, do you have any drugs on you?", he admitted he had drugs in his underwear.

Police uncovered a plastic resealable bag filled with coffee grounds and 10 capsules of MDMA during a search in a private tent. Mr Crean told police he "did not intend on selling the capsules and planned on consuming all of them himself as the purity of MDMA in Australia is not strong enough", the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Mr Crean's lawyer told Parramatta Local Court her client was willing to plead guilty to drug supply to get the matter dealt with quickly so he could return overseas on Friday.

Magistrate Richard Funston did not record a conviction because of the small amount involved and Mr Crean's lack of a criminal record. He told the tourist he could have died if he took the capsules.

"It's an incredibly foolish thing to do and obviously – I say it for the purpose of the court as well – people die of drug overdoses," Mr Funston said, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

During the event, which attracted over 20,500 people, 395 person searches were conducted, with 98 drug detections made during the operation for cannabis, cocaine, and MDMA.

Twenty-nine revellers were issued Criminal Infringement Notices, 28 for possession of MDMA, and one for cocaine, along with 13 cannabis cautions.

Irish nationals arrested over Melbourne shooting

Police have arrested two Irishmen over a Melbourne shooting.

Police have arrested two Irishmen over a Melbourne shooting.

Two Irishmen have been arrested in connection with a shooting at Point Cook last week.

Warrants were issued for the arrest of 30-year-old Mark Dixon (who also sometimes goes by the surname Murphy) and 26-year-old Jack Harvey. The men were arrested in the NSW town of Broken Head on Wednesday afternoon over the shooting of 53-year-old Sid Morgan at a Spraypoint Drive home in west Melbourne about 11pm on February 21.

Sid Morgan, a Sydney real estate agent, is recovering from gunshot injuries following an attack in Melbourne last week.

Sid Morgan, a Sydney real estate agent, is recovering from gunshot injuries following an attack in Melbourne last week.

Mr Morgan, a former NSW Police officer who now runs a Sydney real estate business, remains in hospital with life-threatening injuries after being allegedly shot in the face.

Mark Dixon also goes by the name Mark Murphy.

Mark Dixon also goes by the name Mark Murphy.

According to The Age, Mr Morgan shot dead his own brother-in-law in 1995 after becoming aware of allegations that the man, Mansour Suha, had been molesting three young girls, two of them relatives.

He shot Mr Suha in May 1995 at a home in Sydney's Oakhurst.

On August 1, 1997, a jury found him not guilty and he was acquitted of both murder and manslaughter.

He was however refused reinstatement into the NSW police force and went into the real estate business.

Jack Harvey, 26, was arrested in Broken Head.

Jack Harvey, 26, was arrested in Broken Head.

Victoria Police described Dixon as 180 cm tall, with a medium build, short brown hair, a fair complexion and speaks with an Irish accent.

Harvey is described as having a slim build, short brown hair, a goatee beard and also speaks with an Irish accent.