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Bangladeshi migrant in Australia denied citizenship, labelled ‘menace on the roads’

  • Published at 02:45 pm December 18th, 2018
Australian government's Department of Immigration and Citizenship Bigstock

Sogir Ahmed was honest about his traffic offences in his citizenship application, submitted in March 2017

A permanent Bangladeshi resident in Australia has been labelled a “menace on the roads” after his application for citizenship was denied because of numerous traffic transgressions, including 25 speeding tickets and eight convictions.

The Bangladeshi national has been identified as Sogir Ahmed, whose criminal record ranges from driving without displaying “L” Plates or the supervision of an instructor while on a learner’s permit.

Furthermore, his other traffic offences include that of driving above the speed limit, using an expired licence, and driving with marijuana present in his blood.

Sogir Ahmed was honest about his traffic offences on his citizenship application, submitted in March 2017, with a national police certificate attached. He said he committed those crimes when he was “young and immature”.

The Department of Home Affairs rejected his citizenship application, in January 2018, due to his multiple traffic transgressions. However, Sogir filed an appeal with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), seeking to reverse the decision.

In November, during his appeal hearing, when senior member of the AAT Chris Puplick asked Sogir the number of speeding tickets he received, he replied he might have four to five fines, saying: “I didn’t do much speeding.”

The senior AAT member recited the details of Sogir’s 25 speeding offences—between January 2009 and October 2015—for which he paid almost A$5,500 (1 A$ is approximately 60.27 BDT).

He was also found guilty of driving with an expired permit, four times. However, the most recent offence he committed was driving while consuming marijuana.

Due to these offences, Sogir was fined and his licence was suspended— for two periods of three months, one period of six months, and one period of three years—the current suspension will end in January 2019.

Apart from these, his offences also include: driving while prohibited, driving while using his mobile phone, not obeying traffic lights, and failing to provide details after an accident.

In his defence, he told the Tribunal that he was under the impression that he could drive on his international licence even after his Australian licence was suspended.

His international driver licence was also retracted for a period of one year on the grounds that he was “not a fit and proper person in view of recorded offences.”

The Tribunal noticed that Sogir has presented witnesses who could advocate for his personal qualities of being: “kind, helpful, selfless and ethical.” He appeared to be someone who was “consistently a member of the productive workforce.”

He said he was remorseful of his offences and implied that he has not committed any offences since his last offence in October 2015.

However, the AAT ruled said the time elapsed as insufficient and prohibited him from driving during this period.

It said, the Tribunal needs to be satisfied that he has improved himself as a responsible driver and several years of “clean” driving, before he can regain his driver’s permit.

Chris Puplick said: “Put bluntly, he was a menace on the roads and by his blatant, frequent, and sustained disregard of Australia’s laws—as they relate to driving and road safety— he fails to manifest the degree of respect for the law which this nation is entitled to expect from people seeking to join its ranks of citizenship.”

According to the Tribunal, speeding was the primary cause of road accidents in Australia in 2016, and in addition to that, around 1,193 people died in accidents.

He said Mr Ahmed exhibited a lack of insight into the gravity of his transgressions, to which the AAT said Sogir has not yet achieved the “level of comfort” for earning the benefits the Australian citizenship could provide him, validating the Department’s decision.

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