Travel to Czech not in Sroubek case file

Weekend Herald - - News - Derek Cheng

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.

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