by Michael Mata
In the latest twist to the ongoing saga, Tasmanian bikie Aaron “AJ” Graham, who’s currently being housed in Australia’s toughest prison, has lodged a constitutional challenge in the High Court. The 49-year-old Kiwi is appealing Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s decision to cancel his visa for the second time in June.
Graham was originally arrested by Department of Immigration and Border Protection officers in June 2015 during a multi-agency crackdown on gangs. Although he wasn’t charged with an offence, the Immigration Minister decided to cancel his visa on character grounds, stating that it would “contribute to the national effort to disrupt, disable and dismantle the criminal activity of outlaw motorcycle gangs”.
Graham is a founding member of the Rebels in Tasmania and is the former president of the club’s Kingston chapter. He has a long history of arrests for vicious assaults, including the assault of an insurance fraud investigator at Clarendon Vale.
The second visa cancellation came just hours after Graham won a Federal Court challenge to annul Mr. Dutton’s decision to have him deported back to New Zealand.
Graham’s lawyers argue that Mr. Dutton’s decision exceeds the powers of Parliament. The appeal also argues that Mr. Dutton had failed to demonstrate how deporting Graham would advance the national interest.
Graham has changed legal teams since his last dealings in court, and is now represented by the Melbourne firm Malkoun & Co Lawyers. The firm’s principal is Anthony Malkoun, a law graduate of the University of Tasmania. Malkoun is also the nephew of former Victorian Comanchero president Amad “Jay” Malkoun. Malkoun established his eponymous firm in 2010 after five and a half years at Vadarlis & Co.
The firm has brought in Brett Walker, SC, one of Australia’s top barristers. Walker has represented big tobacco companies in the fight against plain packaging.