Jailed South Sudanese man spared deportation - for now

???A young South Sudanese man jailed for violent offending won a reprieve from deportation to his homeland because authorities failed to consider the impact on his family and his mental health problems.

The 25-year-man, whose identity is redacted, was jailed in 2012 for armed robbery and other offences that a sentencing judge described as "dangerous, frightening and extremely violent".

Such was his offending that the federal government cancelled his humanitarian visa - issued when he came to Australia as a refugee, aged 14 - to have him sent back to South Sudan once released from prison.

Amid the scrutiny on recent crimes in Melbourne involving young men of African background, state Police Minister Lisa Neville confirmed on Tuesday that some of the 18 people last year referred by Victoria Police to the federal government for visa cancellation were from Sudan.

People who are not Australian citizens can be deported to their homelands once they have completed jail terms because they fail a test of "good character".

But in a ruling made last month, a Federal Court judge gave the 25-year-old South Sudanese man a reprieve by ruling that the Administrative Appeals Tribunal had not considered the impact a possible deportation would have on his younger siblings and his nieces and nephews, who are all children.

Justice Debra Mortimer ruled there were doubts over whether deportation was in the best interests of the man's young relatives. The man also requires treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Justice Mortimer said the tribunal's failure to consider those factors deprived the man of the possibility of a successful review of the government's original deportation decision. She ordered that the case be reviewed again.

The man's ultimate fate is likely to be determined when his case goes back before the tribunal again.

In a similar ruling, another Federal Court judge ruled last month that a Sudanese man who was jailed in South Australia in 2014 wasn't given adequate notice that his visa was to be cancelled.

That man's reprieve means the federal government must lodge another notice to cancel his visa if he is to be deported once he has served his time in jail.

Meanwhile, an analysis of the sentences imposed on some of the young Sudanese and South Sudanese men in Victorian courts last year showed almost all were repeat offenders.

The analysis of the cases of a dozen men aged between 18 and 25 found all but two had prior criminal convictions before they were sentenced for offences including armed robbery, aggravated burglary, intentionally causing serious injury, theft and affray. Their sentences ranged from four years in prison to community corrections orders.

One of the men who did not have a criminal past when sentenced had his sentence deferred for a year to see if he could continue his good behaviour.

In several cases, County Court judges told offenders they could not overlook criminal histories and had to impose jail terms, even when acknowledging the trauma most had experienced as children, having fled civil war, endured poverty and witnessed violence in refugee camps.

Problems with alcohol and drugs were also common among the 12 men. In one case, in which an 18-year-old was jailed for an armed robbery at a service station, Judge Paul Grant raised concerns about the teenager's recidivism despite efforts to support his rehabilitation away from a life of crime.

"You have been the beneficiary of orders in the Children's Court designed to facilitate your rehabilitation. Those orders have not been successful," Judge Grant said.

"The ongoing support of your family has not stopped your offending. Nor has the ongoing support of the education system. It appears that your peers have been able to easily persuade you to participate in their serious offending. These are matters of concern."

This story Jailed South Sudanese man spared deportation - for now first appeared on The Age.