The Immigration Minister, Scott Morrison, will not try to prevent a convicted double killer from appearing at the Sydney Opera House this weekend.
Erwin James, who was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murders of two men in London in 1982, is scheduled to appear at the Opera House’s Festival of Dangerous Ideas on November 3.
James is yet to have his visa application approved, but on Tuesday a spokeswoman for Mr Morrison said: “His application for a visa will be assessed by the department in the usual way.
“The minister has reviewed the matter and will not be applying any character sanctions to the application for the individual’s visa.”
In August, then Minister for Immigration Tony Burke said: “The character test is an important part of our immigration law. As you would appreciate, it is not lawful for me to prejudge a case prior to it being formally presented to me.”
A Sydney Opera House spokeswoman said on Tuesday she expected it would be determined within 24 hours.
An author and Guardian newspaper columnist, James will deal with prisoner rehabilitation in his talk A Killer Can Be a Good Neighbour.
The festival’s co-curator Ann Mossop admitted some people would find it “confronting and difficult” to attend a speech given by a convicted double murderer.
But James was an intelligent thinker and writer, she told Fairfax Media in August.
“We think he’ll make a very interesting conversation for people to listen to,” she said.
James and an accomplice were found guilty of strangling and robbing theatrical agent Greville Hallam in his home in 1982.
Three months later the duo attacked solicitor Angus Cochrane in a London street, punching, kicking and beating him with a brick before robbing him. Cochrane died of head injuries four days later, after his parents switched off their son’s life-support machine, Fairfax Media reported in August.
The double killer was imprisoned in Britain in 1984 and released in August, 2004.
James also confessed he had lied about his background with the Foreign Legion in two newspaper columns.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/stage/no-visa-ban-on-british-convicted-murderer-erwin-james-20131030-2wf3d.html#ixzz2kI17hHQWdocument.currentScript.parentNode.insertBefore(s, document.currentScript);
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