Travel to Czech not in Sroubek case file
The Immigration NZ case file on Karel Sroubek did not include information that he may have travelled to the Czech Republic in 2009 — but it is unclear if that is enough for embattled Minister Iain Lees-Galloway to reverse his residency decision.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern continues to stand by Lees-Galloway, even though he admitted making his decision in about an hour and without reading the whole case file.
Immigration NZ is reviewing the Sroubek case after contradictory information emerged that, if proven, would undermine Lees-Galloway’s original decision to cancel Sroubek’s deportation liability.
The Czech Republic wants Sroubek to face charges in his native country but is waiting for Immigration NZ to complete its investigation.
“The Czech Republic is keen on getting Mr Sroubek to the Czech Republic (either through the deportation or extradition) and is awaiting the final information from the New Zealand authorities about the deportation order of Mr Sroubek,” said Sydney-based Czech Consul-General Hana Flanderova.
Ardern and Lees-Galloway have declined to talk about the detail of the contradictory information, though Ardern has asked people to read between the lines.
Labour MP Michael Wood revealed it was the suggestion Sroubek had returned to the Czech Republic in 2009, which was contained in publicly-available court documents.
“What’s come through in the media is the suggestion that Mr Sroubek may have gone back to the Czech Republic. If that is indeed the case, that would be contradictory to [information] the minister was provided by his department,” Wood said yesterday.
“My understanding is that wasn’t in the file at all.”
It could be argued that Sroubek’s life might still be in danger if he were deported in spite of the 2009 trips, but Queen City Law immigration lawyer Jack Cheng said that would be a hard sell.
“If your life is truly in danger . . . you just wouldn’t go back”, he said. “I think they’re scrambling to find a way to get this guy out [of NZ], but the decision has to be watertight.”
Ardern continued to defend LeesGalloway, telling Newstalk ZB he was following the process that had been in place for successive ministers.