“IRISH paedophile priest Finian Egan has been named as the child rapist the Administrative Appeals Tribunal is trying to save from deportation.
AAT deputy president Janine Stevenson recently set aside former Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s decision to cancel Egan’s Australian citizenship.
She also ordered that Egan not be identified and that evidence given in the case be suppressed.
The Herald Sun today appeared before Justice Stevenson and successfully appealed against the confidentiality order she issued on December 6 last year.
While Justice Stevenson today ordered that some details of the case remain suppressed they relate only to the identities of Egan’s three child victims.
Mr Dutton, who is now Home Affairs Minister, cancelled Egan’s citizenship in 2016 after the disgraced Catholic priest was found guilty of a string of sexual offences committed against three young girls over decades of abuse.
Egan, 83, was convicted in 2013 of raping a teenage girl and committing several serious sexual assaults against two other girls aged under 17 and was last month released from jail in New South Wales after serving just four years of an eight-year sentence.
He appealed to the AAT in the hope it would allow him to stay in the country.
Mr Dutton opposed Egan’s AAT application, saying in his statement of reasons for revoking Egan’s citizenship that it was “contrary to the public interest” for Egan to remain as an Australian citizen.
The minister also told the AAT his decision to cancel Egan’s visa was made after Egan committed “serious sexual assaults, over a lengthy period of time, against children”.
“In addition, these offences involved a serious abuse of power as they were committed in his capacity as an ordained Catholic priest,” Mr Dutton’s statement to the AAT said.
Justice Stevenson ruled on December 14 last year to set aside Mr Dutton’s decision to cancel Egan’s citizenship.
She didn’t name Egan in her ruling, but the Herald Sun was able to confirm it related to Egan and today succeeded in getting the confidentiality order lifted so it could identify him and provide previously suppressed details of the AAT case.
Justice Stevenson’s reasons for allowing Egan to keep his Australian citizenship included Egan’s age and poor health, his low risk of reoffending, that Egan had lived in Australia since 1959 and that NSW Bishop Peter Comensoli had agreed to supervise Egan in Australia.
Mr Dutton has confirmed to the Herald Sun that he will use the Federal Court to appeal against Justice Stevenson’s decision.
“Our first responsibility is to protect children,” Mr Dutton told the Herald Sun.
“Society and courts sometimes fail this fundamental responsibility.
“Sexually brutalising a child is the most heinous act a person of trust can commit.
“It was the right thing to do to revoke Egan’s Australian citizenship and I would do it again in a similar case.”
One of Egan’s victims, Kellie Roche, provided the Herald Sun with a written submission to the AAT in which she asked that Egan be publicly named.
“I am upset that the AAT is using survivors like myself as an excuse to hide paedophiles like Finian Egan with suppression orders,” her submission said.
Ms Roche today told the Herald Sun she was delighted the AAT was lifting the suppression order, saying “it’s a victory for common sense”.
“Let’s hope the same common sense is applied and the Federal Court agrees that Egan’s Australian citizenship should be cancelled and he is kicked out of the country.”
Egan’s sexual offences took place over more than two decades when he worked as a priest in various parts of NSW between 1962 and the late 1980s.
Most of the sex attacks were committed on church grounds against girls whose families Egan had befriended.”