Rock fishing at Avoca Beach. Generic rock fishing / rock fishermen / fishing.
Rock fishing at Avoca Beach. Generic rock fishing / rock fishermen / fishing.

Fishing club volunteer faces deportation to New Zealand

A MAN who carried out volunteer work for a Rockhampton fishing club and donated his car to the club to avoid driving disqualified is highly likely to be deported back to New Zealand.

John Andrew Rakena, 58, pleaded guilty on February 26 in Rockhampton Magistrates Court to one count each of driving while disqualified, failing to dispose safely of a syringe and failing to provide his identifying particulars to police.

The court heard he was on two suspended prison sentences on top of the driving disqualification period and had been deemed an unlawful non-citizen status.

Australia’s mandatory detention policy requires unlawful non-citizen to be detained until they are granted a visa or are removed from country.

The offending that led to the status and being taken into police custody involved Rakena being intercepted driving while disqualified on December 4, 2019, on Farm St.

Police prosecutor Julie Marsden said police intercepted Rakena at 1.40am and checks revealed his licence had been disqualified for two years and four months set to expire on February 8, 2022.

She said Rakena told police he had been up Mount Archer socialising with family and friends and had driven down to use an ATM.

Rakena then failed to attend the watch house to provide his identifying particulars within the required time and police located him at Northside Plaza on January 30 and decided to search him, finding a syringe in a bum bag.

Ms Marsden said Rakena’s drug offending dated back to 1991 until 2018.

She said in 2018, Rakena was sentenced to three months prison, wholly suspended for 18 months and that was extended by three months in October 2019.

In October 2019, he was given a six-month prison term for disqualified driving which was wholly suspended.

Magistrate Jeff Clarke said Rakena had a reference from the Jolly Rogers Fishing Club which spoke highly of Rakena and his volunteer work at the club to clean up the Fitzroy River and speaking with people about his own drug use.

“You are facing the prospect of being deported because of the accumulation of your criminal history,” he said.

Defence lawyer Rowan King said deportation would cause Rakena hardship.

“He will not have the opportunity to say goodbye to his family or pack up his belongings,” he said.

Mr King said his client had been volunteering with the fishing club, donated his car to the club to avoid temptation to drive again and had worked lined up with the club.

Mr Clarke ordered Rakena to a six-month prison term, wholly suspended for 18 months for the disqualified driving charge, activated the two suspended sentences and extended their operational periods by three months.

He was also disqualified from driving for a further three years.



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