Criminal record tells against young Tongan’s appeal against deportation order

Oku taupotu 'i lalo ha fakamatala faka-Tonga

The Immigration and Protection Tribunal recently found against Puluno Latu, who had tried to overturn the order to return to Tonga on humanitarian grounds.

Latu, 23, argued that deportation would cause hardship because he would be separated from his immediate family and his daughter.

Latu had been convicted of a range of offences in New Zealand,, including two of injuring with intent to injure, two of threatening to kill or do grievous bodily harm, one of assault with intent to injure and three of male assaults female.

Latu was brought to New Zealand with other siblings on a visitor’s by his mother in 2006, when he was 12. His father, who he described as violent, had criminal convictions and was not offered a visa.

Latu was unable to settle in to school because of language problems and was bullied. He attended three schools before leaving altogether. He undertook a number of manual jobs, but became addicted to methamphetamine.

He became violent and assaulted a number of people, including the mother of his child.

In December he was sentenced  to three years and five months’ imprisonment over assaults on his partner, during one of which he held a knife to her throat and fled from police in a car, only being stopped when police laid our road spikes.

He attended a number of rehabilitation courses, but was expelled from one course after he  obtained confidential information about one of the staff and planned to contact them r outside prison.

The Tribunal received submissions from Latu’s family saying his deportation would cause them distress.

“It is evident that they endured much stress and difficulty in re-establishing themselves in New Zealand,” the Tribunal said.

However, the experience had brought the family closer together and made them a close and supportive family.

“Their anguish and distress at the prospect of him being deported is understandable,” the Tribunal said.

“Notwithstanding this, the family has retained close links with the extended family in Tonga and family members return there often.

“The appellant’s mother has siblings on Eua who would be able to provide support for the appellant – a factor which would alleviate her concern about his return.

“Further, it must be evident to the appellant’s mother that he has been unable to settle successfully in New Zealand. She must have been aware of his truancy, expulsion from school, anti-social associates, drug taking and violence towards his partner. She cannot realistically have seen his settlement here as a success.”

Family members and his daughter would be able to visit him in Tonga.

The Tribunal therefore ruled against Latu.

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