It took five years for DNA from another crime to catch up with a young rapist, but now, over a decade after the “violent and terrifying attack” on a 17-year-old Melbourne girl, a South Sudanese man is to be stripped of his Australian citizenship.
Jal Galuak was 13-years-old when he followed the teenage high school student into a Melbourne park, threatened her with a cricket bat and raped her in April 2007.
He spent the next few years amassing a serious criminal rap sheet, including false imprisonment, robbery, making threats to kill and drug possession.
The violent offender came under the microscope for the sexual assault when he was DNA tested in South Australia after being arrested for drink-driving in 2011.T
he young girl was dragged into a secluded part of the park after being threatened with a cricket bat. Picture: Google Maps (google)
Police were informed of the match in 2012, but Galuak was not charged until September 2014.
He pleaded guilty in the Victorian County Court and was sentenced to five years in jail in 2015.
The Department of Home Affairs became aware of Galuak’s offending and revoked his Australian citizenship on June 22. After a May hearing, the Australian Administrative Tribunal upheld its decision.
The tribunal rejected Galuak’s claim that he would be rendered “stateless” if he was stripped of his Australian citizenship, asserting that as he was born to a South Sudanese mother and father he had an “an inalienable right to enjoy South Sudanese citizenship and nationality”.
The tribunal heard Galuak – who has been diagnosed with an intellectual disability and severe behaviour disorder – was suffering post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) when the attack occurred after being tortured by rebels in Sudan.
He showed a psychologist scars on his legs he received after being tied down and burned with a blade that had been held in a fire.
Galuak told the tribunal his poor behaviour had been influenced by older, more dominant friends, who he had ceased contact with.
“My friends had set me up, you see they loved me as long as I was willing to do stupid things with them,” he said in an undated statement.
He said he was “forced to do bad things” and that he felt terrible throughout the attack, which he pleaded guilty to.
“When my lawyer told me how the victim felt, I apologised to her and her family too. I didn’t know what I was doing.
“I was young and I wish that I was his age, so that I could stand up to him at the time.”
However, the tribunal noted details heard during Galuak’s trial contradicted his statement.
Judge Wendy Wilmoth acknowledged there was another youth with Galuak when he asked the girl for a light for his cigarette then dragged her away while “holding a cricket bat above her head as if to strike her”.
But stated that when he told his victim he had a gun, put her in a headlock and forced her to undress, the other youth tried to convince him not to rape the teenage girl.
The Minister for immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton, has the power to revoke a person’s citizenship if they have been convicted of a “serious crime” under the Australian Citizenship Act. (AAP)
“If the person referred to is someone else who was not present, it is not clear how that person can have ‘forced’ the Applicant to commit this serious crime,” the tribunal said in its findings.
The tribunal also heard a passer-by tried to intervene in the 20-minute attack but Galuak threatened to kill him before telling the girl to forget what he looked like and keep quiet about the attack.
The tribunal considered the effects Galuak being stripped of his Australian citizenship would have on his sickly mother and siblings, but found as he frequently spent time incarcerated since coming to Australia it did not weigh heavily on its decision.
Galuak was granted citizenship with his two siblings and his mother in November 2007. The tribunal said if the Department had of been aware of the rape, his application would have likely been rejected.
The Minister for immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton, has the power to revoke a person’s citizenship if they have been convicted of a “serious crime” under the Australian Citizenship Act.
Galuak appealed the revocation on the grounds that the minister may not exercise that power if the person was not a national citizen of any other country, rendering them “stateless”.
The tribunal found Galuak would still be considered a citizen of South Sudan and upheld the minister’s decision due to the seriousness of his offending and fears the Australian community would be put at risk if he were released.
“The Tribunal finds that the consistent pattern of serious and often violent offending from 2007 until his imprisonment in 2015, coupled with his poor prospects of rehabilitation, leads the Tribunal to a conclusion that he has shown scant regard for upholding and obeying the laws of Australia,” the tribunal found.
“There is a substantial risk of re-offending and, accordingly in terms of the protection of Australian society, the Tribunal finds it would be contrary to the public interest for Mr Galuak to remain an Australian citizen.”
The Department of Home Affairs said when a person inside the Australian migration zone has their citizenship revoked, they become the holder of an ex-citizenship visa which is subject to cancellation on character grounds.
“Visa cancellation considerations are a separate process which commences once the timeframe for appeal has passed,” a spokesperson told nine.com.au.
The spokesperson refused to comment on Galuak’s case for privacy reasons.
Nine.com.au has contacted Galuak’s lawyer for comment.
Galuak remains in prison.