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    A man who was subject to an apprehended violence order (AVO) and committed a number of domestic violence offences has had his bid for Australian citizenship rejected.

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      Man Refused Australian Citizenship Due to AVO & Domestic Violence Offences

      A man who was subject to an apprehended violence order (AVO) and committed a number of domestic violence offences has had his bid for Australian citizenship rejected.

      The Home Affairs Minister’s decision to refuse Lebanese man Khodr Nazem Saadie citizenship was upheld by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

      In making the decision, the Tribunal found that the Queensland man was not a person of good character.

      Domestic Violence Offences

      Mr Saadie arrived in Australia in 2001 from Lebanon on a prospective marriage visa. He was later granted permanent residence by a partner visa.

      He applied to become a citizen in 2016 and did not disclose that he had been subject to an AVO, nor that he had been convicted of domestic violence offences.

      However, a national police check revealed these matters.

      The Tribunal heard that he dislocated his first wife’s finger by grabbing her wrists and twisting her hands.

      She was taken to hospital and had to get her rings cut off so her finger could be relocated.

      Police claimed Saadie had told her, “What have you been doing all day, I come home from work, I want something to eat.”

      During another incident he bit his first wife.

      According to the judgment, Mr Saadie was not charged with assault. He was sentenced to a Section 10 bond for breach AVO for that incident. This meant that he did not receive a criminal conviction.

      However, he was convicted for assault occasioning actual bodily harm in relation to an incident where he hit his second wife with a hose two days in a row while she was six months’ pregnant.

      The police facts stated that he had been questioning her about $25 in the house, which she said she’d spent on food and groceries.

      In 2011, Mr Saadie was also convicted of resist police and contravene AVO after threatening to kill his second wife. He had also taken a mobile and home phone from her hands as she tried to call police.

      Tribunal’s Reasons

      AAT deputy president Dr Peter McDermott said the serious domestic violence offences against his two wives, which resulted in both being taken to hospital, could not be excused on the basis of “spontaneous reactions”.

      “The number of violent offences perpetrated by the applicant detract greatly from any positive assessment of his character, having regard to the risk of danger to the public from this conduct,” he said.

      “Some actions of the applicant in committing domestic violence offences were quite deliberate because the applicant assaulted his second wife who was six months pregnant with a hose on two successive days, leaving extensive bruising and marks on her.”

      The Tribunal was not satisfied Mr Saadie accepted responsibility for his actions.

      They also made note of his extensive speeding history.

      The failure to disclose convictions in his citizenship application also showed he was not of good character.

      “I consider that the applicant is not of good character because whilst he has been in Australia, he has not conducted himself in a manner that accords with the values of our society…This tribunal has clearly and consistently emphasised that domestic violence is contrary to the values of Australian society.”

      It was also concerning had had failed to take steps to accept responsibility for his actions by engaging in rehabilitation, Dr McDermott added.

      “I find that he does not possess any insight into his offending behaviour, as when asked why his citizenship application was refused, he stated simply that ‘something happened’,” he said.

      AVO Lawyers

      An AVO is an apprehended violence order. It is a Court order imposed on a person for the protection of another person (or persons).

      There are some mandatory conditions that come with an AVO, and then there are other optional conditions. These conditions restrict the behaviour of the person on whom the AVO is imposed.

      There have been a number of recent examples of an AVO being dropped and/or dismissed after retaining experienced AVO lawyers. You can view some of those cases by clicking here.

      We can arrange a conference for you with a Law Society Accredited Specialist in AVOs. Call Astor Legal on (02) 7804 2823. Or, you can email info@astorlegal.com.au.

      As an AVO is not a criminal conviction, it will not appear on any Police check. However, an AVO may place restrictions on what you can and cannot do. Some common examples of conditions are:

      • You cannot approach or contact a particular person or persons;
      • You cannot enter a particular premises;
      • You cannot go within a certain distance of a particular location;
      • You cannot be in the company of a particular person within 12 hours of consuming alcohol.

      Because of this, people consult AVO lawyers about how to get an AVO dismissed. To answer this question, AVO lawyers refer to Section 16 of the Act which sets out the factors that must be proved on the balance of probabilities for an AVO to be made:

      1. The alleged victim has reasonable grounds to fear a personal violence offence from you; and

      2. The alleged victim, fears a personal violence offence from you unless:

      a) The alleged victim is under 16 years of age

      b) The alleged victim has a mental impairment

      c) the alleged victim has, in the past, been subject to a personal violence offence from you and the court believes there is a reasonable likelihood of it occurring again.

      3. It is appropriate to make an AVO in the terms sought.

      If any of these matters cannot be proved, then the AVO will not be made.

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