Bikie Aaron ‘AJ’ Graham takes case to the High Court in constitutional challenge

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AUTHORITIES have failed to show how deporting notorious Tasmanian bikie Aaron “AJ” Graham would serve the national interest, a High Court application says.

The former Rebels leader has been housed in Australia’s toughest prison since immigration officials swooped on him in June last year and cancelled his visa.

In the latest twist of the long-running deportation saga, Graham has lodged a constitutional challenge in the High Court.

The 49-year-old is appealing Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s decision to cancel his visa for a second time in June.

The second cancellation came just hours after Graham won a Federal Court challenge to quash Mr Dutton’s initial decision to have him deported to his native New Zealand.

High Court documents obtained by the Mercury show a constitutional aspect to the appeal, with Graham’s lawyers arguing Mr Dutton’s decision went beyond the power of Parliament.

Another ground of the appeal relates to Mr Dutton rescinding the visa on the basis that it would advance the national interest because of Graham’s links to the Rebels. But the former president of the Rebels’ Kingston chapter argued through his lawyers that Mr Dutton’s decision was misguided.

“[Mr Dutton] made no finding as to how removing the plaintiff from Australia would advance the national interest,” the High Court application says.

Graham has changed legal teams since his last court bout and is now represented by Melbourne firm Malkoun & Co Lawyers.

The firm’s principal Anthony Malkoun, who studied law at the University of Tasmania, is the nephew of former Victorian Comanchero president Amad “Jay” Malkoun.

The firm has brought in one of Australia’s top barristers, Brett Walker, SC, who represented big tobacco companies in the fight against plain packaging.

Graham was arrested in a crackdown on bikies and whisked away to Goulburn Supermax. Although he was not charged with an offence, because of a prior conviction Mr Dutton cancelled his visa on character grounds, claiming it would “contribute to the national effort to disrupt, disable and dismantle the criminal activity of outlaw motorcycle gangs”.

Graham was jailed in 2009 over a brutal assault of an insurance fraud investigator at Clarendon Vale.

Graham moved to Australia when he was 10 and has children born here.

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