27 Jul 2013

Nauru court holds bail hearings for asylum seekers accused of rioting

8:38 am on 27 July 2013

The Nauru district court heard bail applications for the asylum seekers facing charges of riot and unlawful assembly following the July 19th riot at the Australian-run detention camp on the island.

152 asylum seekers were arrested over the riot at the camp which caused damages estimated at 55-million US dollars.

On Thursday, the court heard applications from twenty asylum seekers defendants seeking bail.

One of the defendants was discharged when the prosecution sought leave to withdraw the charges against him.

Another 40 appeared in court on Friday and their cases were presented by three court appointed lawyers for the defendants.

In a statement, the Court said it considered issues raised by the legal representatives including the presumption in favour of bail, the seriousness of the charges, the prospect of re-offending, and the oppressive nature of the current detention of the asylum seekers in the Nauru Correctional Centre.

Further issues put to the court included the fact that there is no accommodation available at the detention centre, and the prospect of re-housing the defendants in tents will not be available until the 5th of August.

The Court refused bail to three asylum seeker defendants.

However, the remaining asylum seeker defendants were granted bail to commence from the 5th of August through to 8th on strict conditions, requiring each of them to enter agreements to not to commit offences, and to obey any directions of staff at the camp.

They were also told to attend court on the 2nd of September.