'Dad is not a criminal': Family shattered by deportation threat
IT HAS been 81 days since a Gladstone man of 23 years was separated from his family.
Since August 2, Gladstone grandfather Derek Lyons has been at the Brisbane Immigration Detention Centre.
Mr Lyons, a former member of the Black Uhlans Motorcycle Club, is facing deportation back to Scotland, leaving a wife, three children and a grandson in Gladstone.
His family claims the 51-year-old's last conviction was in late-November 2007 when he received a 12-month suspended jail sentence for entering a dwelling with the intent to commit an indictable offence and extortion.
On November 17 Mr Lyons, his wife Leanne and three children will learn his fate when a Federal Court judge decides if he will be deported.
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection said it was unable to discuss details of individual cases.
However the department spokesperson explained provisions under section 501 of the Migration Act 1985 allow Immigration Minister Peter Dutton or officers to refuse or cancel a visa if a person is considered "to not be of good character", which includes criminal history.
"A person can fail the character test for a number of reasons, including but not limited to where a non-citizen has a substantial criminal record, or they are suspected of associating with, or being a member of, a group involved in criminal conduct," the spokesperson said.
It said a "substantial criminal record" is a single or multiple term of imprisonment of 12 months or more.
Sharing the family's ordeal on a gofundme page set up to help with legal costs, daughter TJ Lyons said their lives were "flipped upside down".
"Our dad used to be in a motorcycle club where by law is seen as a criminal organisation," she wrote.
But dad is far from a criminal. He's always tried helping people in anyway he can and most of all he is such a family man.
"Growing up he always took us kids to sports and helped out with our clubs, training not only us kids but others as well and always supported us."
Mr Lyons' 88-year-old mother and sisters live in Australia.
"He is loved by so many people and for the last three months he has been in Brisbane Immigration Detention Centre awaiting court to determine his future," his daughter wrote.
"Seeing my dad locked away and knowing that he could get deported and never allowed back in the country is the worst thing we have had to go through."
"We have been fighting with everything we have and we will continue to fight.
"We all need our father and little Lincon needs his Grandad."
The Department spokesperson said the non-citizen character test was strengthened in December 2014 when the Australian Government introduced new grounds for visa cancellation and refusal.
The spokesperson said, "non-citizens whose visas have been cancelled are liable for placement in immigration detention, pending their removal from Australia".
"It is open to non-citizens whose visas have been cancelled or refused to seek judicial review of the decision," the spokesperson said.