13 May 2013

Minister asked to stop Tongan overstayer being deported

9:51 am on 13 May 2013

A late appeal has been lodged to stop the deportation of a Tongan overstayer at the centre of claims of illegal and unfair treatment.

The man's lawyer, Richard Small, says records released by Immigration New Zealand show his client asked to speak to his lawyer immediately after his arrest, but the request was ignored.

Immigration compliance manager Peter Elms is defending the decision to deport the man, saying he was advised of his right to a lawyer several times but turned it down.

Mr Small says his client denies that, and the arresting officer's notes clearly show his request for a lawyer. He says the decision to deport is unfair and should be overturned.

Associate Immigration Minister Nikki Kaye says she is considering the request.

The Law Society plans to meet with Immigration New Zealand officials about the case.

Immigration and refugee law convenor John McBride says he has looked at the case notes and nothing in them says the man did not want to see his lawyer if he was picked up.