Taxpayers will pay the legal bills for two bikies who won a court battle to remain in Australia

TAXPAYERS will foot the legal bills of two hardened bikies who yesterday won a court battle to halt a government move to boot them out of the country.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has expressed his disappointment the full bench of the Federal Court had blocked his attempts to kick convicted criminals out of Australia by stripping their visas.

Carrascalao was in the Bandidos bikie gang. Picture: Facebook

Former Lone Wolf gang boss Tomasi Taulahi and Helder Carrascalao, from rival gang Bandidos, were released from immigration detention immediately and allowed to stay in Australia — with their legal challenge covered by taxpayers.

The Full Court first overruled Mr Dutton’s decision to strip the criminals of their visas last December because of jurisdictional errors. Hours after that ruling, Mr Dutton reviewed the findings, tried to fix the errors and decided to kick them out of the country.

In an extraordinary finding, the Federal Court yesterday found Mr Dutton had “insufficient time … to engage in the requisite active intellectual process”.

It also found Mr Dutton could not have had the time to think about “the importance and ramifications of the visa cancellation decisions” for the men, their families and “other affected third parties”.

“The government is disappointed by the Court’s decision to release these two individuals,” a spokeswoman for Mr Dutton said.


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“As the court recognises, both men have significant criminal histories.”

Taulahi, 40, a Tongan citizen, was NSW President and Sergeant at Arms of the Lone Wolf bikie gang. He arrived in Australia as a 12-year-old in 1988 and has a wife and two daughters, who are Australian citizens.

Carrascalao was born in East Timor and came to Australia, aged seven, as a refugee. Now 49, his criminal history includes convictions for common assault and contravening an apprehended domestic violence order.

The Federal Court yesterday found Mr Dutton did not adequately review representations made to him last December by Taulahi, after the court overturned his first decision to cancel his visa.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton expressed his disappointment the Federal Court blocked his attempts to kick the convicted criminals out of Australia. Picture: AAP Image/Darren England

Carrascalao’s legal team denied he was still part of a bikie gang and said he had no intention of associating with them, and that while he had been associated with the club in the past, he was not aware of criminal activities.

The court noted that, despite photographic evidence of Carrascalao’s membership with the Bandidos, Mr Dutton had no proof he was now a member or that he was ever “involved in, or knew of, any criminal conduct”.

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Sharri Markson and Clarissa Bye
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