Immigration tribunal lets man stay in New Zealand after 'vengeful complaint' by ex-partner

Immigration tribunal lets man stay in New Zealand after 'vengeful complaint' by ex-partner
Photo credit: RNZ / Patrice Allen.

By Tom Kitchin of RNZ

A tribunal has let an Indian man stay in New Zealand after he was almost deported for allegedly hitting his ex-partner.

The allegation has not been proven and the tribunal found it was a "malicious and vengeful complaint".

In a recently released decision, the Immigration and Protection Tribunal granted the man a 12-month work visa.

The man, identified by the tribunal only as "JU", arrived in New Zealand in September 2015 on a student visa.

About three years later, he met a woman, and moved in with her at the start of 2019.

But the relationship started to deteriorate later in the year.

In November 2019, the woman was arrested for abusing a liquor store manager and she blamed the man, becoming angry and abusive.

Some two weeks later, a representative for the man told the tribunal he noticed his partner was trying to hide messages on her phone from him.

He attempted to take the phone from her and she retaliated, saying she would "destroy his life".

The man's partner called the police, claiming she had been slapped across the face with "full force".

He was arrested and charged with assault, although the police summary of facts said the woman was not injured and the man denied slapping her.

The charge was later withdrawn and he was given a diversion. He completed a non-violence programme.

In June, Immigration New Zealand served him with a deportation liability notice because of the charge.

It determined he was not of good character and therefore liable for deportation.

The man's representative told Immigration New Zealand because he had not been found guilty, it would be an "unfair and disproportionate punishment" for him to be deported.

But Immigration New Zealand did not accept this.

In August it concluded the matters "did not outweigh the grounds for liability".

But the tribunal found the man was was "a victim of a malicious New Zealand citizen who has deliberately sought to punish him for leaving the relationship".

"He is now facing the prospect that he may be deported and this would cause his family a great deal of shame and distress," it said.

"The tribunal accepts the representative's submission that it would be an unfair and disproportionate punishment for the appellant to be deported on the basis of a malicious and vengeful complaint made tt the police after his partner had made it clear to him that she wished to hurt him."