Tongan convicted of indecent assault will be deported despite ‘anguish’ it will cause family

The Immigration and Protection Tribunal has rejected an appeal against deportation by a Tongan man.

However, it has ordered that his deportation be delayed by several months so that he can put his affairs in order. It also ordered the removal of a ban on him re-entering New Zealand.

The man’s liability for deportation arose from his conviction in February 2017, on two charges of indecent assault of his adopted daughter.

The 50-year-old Tongan citizen, who became a New Zealand resident in 2012, said the victim and her family had forgiven him after a traditional Tongan process of forgiveness.

The primary issue of the appeal was whether the man, identified only as ‘BO’ had exceptional humanitarian circumstances arising from his, and his family’s, attachment to New Zealand, the educational needs of his young son and the challenges of providing for his family in Tonga.

The Tribunal heard that the man was relied upon by the extended family for money and accommodation.

He has been an important figure in the life of his niece and her family, providing financial support and guidance through difficult times and her children view him as a de facto grandfather.

He was a regular provider of financial support to his and his wife’s immediate family members in Tonga.

The man and his wife were granted residence and came to New Zealand in 2012. The man had two children by other women in Tonga.

He works in the construction industry and supports family members in Tonga and his extended family in New Zealand.

His wife testified that she had not decided whether to accompany him to Tonga and may remain in New Zealand with their son.

‘BO’ said he would like to take his son to Tonga, but was not unsure whether his wife would agree.

The Tribunal accepted that his deportation would cause sadness and anguish among members of his wider family.

However, it found that immediate family members would have an opportunity to adjust to the changed circumstances.

After considering all the evidence, the Tribunal decided there were no exceptional circumstances of a humanitarian nature that would cause it overturn the deportation order.

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