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AR LAW Services  |  Lawyers & Consultants  |  Masters of Australian Migration and Visa Law

The Last Man Hanged and the rule of law: Representing Peter Walker bad Character, s501

As noted by Julian Burnside, “The hanging of Ronald Ryan polarised Victoria and focussed national attention on the issue of capital punishment”.

On reading Burnside’s article I felt compelled to reflect upon the concept of the rule of law and what it means for many of my clients. Particularly those who are not Australian citizens but who live here for all intents and purposes and still call Australia home.

I believe the most important work a lawyer can do is “fight the good fight”. I concur with the words from Emma Lazarus’ sonnet, New Colossus, that appears on the Statute of Liberty and inspire our better natures, particularly the lines:

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

They are moving and uplifting words and it is easy to get swept away with this sentiment and so we should.

But what if your huddled masses contain sick, old or criminal. What then?

AR LAW Services over the last 20 years or so have helped many “asylum” seekers – refugees, women at risk, victims of domestic violence – to find safety and call Australia home.

We have also help many disenfranchised. Those who are shunned, those considered by various Governments to be loathsome and beneath contempt and denied the protection of the rule of law.

But what to do with those who have lived a life outside the law in Australia? Those who have done terrible acts? Those who have refused to be part of the Australian community and have lived a life of crime?

Or perhaps the even more difficult question is what to do with “ex-cons” in general and “ex-cons” that are not Australian Citizens in particular?

I believe the rule of law is the bed rock of our liberal democracy. But to do so means one must have faith in the criminal justice system. It also means – I believe – that once a person has served their “time” – their punishment – there is a notion, perhaps implied, that we, the community, will allow those who have “done their time” to again be considered part of our Australian community.

And this, I believe, is in keeping with the Australian concept of a “fair go”, to do otherwise is to reduce our criminal justice system to mere “lip service”.

Now no one is saying all these people are “pure as the driven snow” but that is not the question – the question is what sort of country do we want to be?

Peter Walker retain AR LAW SERVICES in about 2016 to manage his visa cancellation appeal.  Peter Walker was a notorious criminal, best know for escaping Pentridge with Ronald Ryan: the last man hanged in Australia.  Walker had done many bad things – he’d robbed, he’d dealt in hard dealt in hard drugs and he’d killed!

He was no choir boy, but he had a hard life and cruel life. Dumped in Australia as a child of four.  Abused on many occasions and bounced from institution to institution until he finally “graduated” to prison.  The odds were stacked against him.

But my job and my belief was that as bad as he was – he was our (Australia’s) problem. He was a man in his 80s who had been in Australia since he was four.  True he was no a citizen, but it is hard to say he was not an Australian.

And his instruction to me were he wanted “to die in Australia”.

Following numerous appeal and fights at Tribunals and Federal Court – it was an extremely technical argument based on several High Court – Peter Walker died in a nursing home in Australia.

So if you or someone you know has had their visa cancelled or has received notice from the department that their the visa is about to be cancelled, pursuant to section 501 or any other grounds, talk to us.  (for more about cancelled or refused visa go to

VISA Cancelled or Refused due to Failing the Character Test – section 501- AAT appeal: AR LAW SERVICES: Master Migration Lawyers

Visa Cancellation Appeals

Cases Won

AR LAW Services are not only Masters of Migration and Visa law but we have extensive experience in AAT and Federal Circuit Court appeals including GTE, PIC 4020 Bogus Document, health and character matters and s501 cases, these are extremely complex and specialist area of Australian immigration law and that is where a Master Migration Law with over 20 years experience may give you the edge you need.

In these uncertain times of ever changing laws you can depend on us! AR LAW SERVICES. The Smarter, Tougher, Better Immigration Lawyers.  We will fight for you.

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Note: this update, or any previous updates on this page, do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Please call our office to seek professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content on this page