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Any suggestions? Judge’s difficult sentencing of a former refugee who won’t stop offending.

In a bid to hide his heritage, the NZ media leave out the middle name of Mohyadin Mohamed Farah.

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No-one knows what to do with Mohyadin Farah, a Somali who came here as a refugee with a history of sexually assaulting women.

He’s been to jail, been in psychiatric care and even been considered for removal from the country.  Nothing has worked.

His latest offending saw him target a 78-year-old woman – he touched her breasts over her clothing and grabbed her walking frame when she tried to get away from him.

A judge has called him a menace to the country that gave him refuge.

Farah came to New Zealand in 2000.  By 2006 he was eligible for the highest sentence that can be passed by our courts, preventive detention.

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Mohyadin Mohamed Farah at an earlier court hearing.

A high court judge declined to do that and told him his stalking, kissing and groping strangers – thinking women owed him sexual favours – needed to stop, remarking: “You are proving to be a menace to the country, which has given you refuge”.

He instead gave him four years jail.

In 2011 he grabbed the breasts of a woman on a bus and told her he was going to rape her.

And in 2013 he demanded sex from another victim and when she struggled to get free he raped her.

He was later found unfit to stand trial and a district court judge tried a different route, making him a special patient and held in a secure mental health facility.  The Crown offered no evidence on the charges despite him being well enough to face them and a judge dismissed them.

But by 2018 he was out and had offended in the same way by February this year.

A troubled background

Farah came to New Zealand as a refugee in 2000.

He was the eldest of nine siblings. His family moved from Somalia to Kenya where it’s thought they were exposed to considerable violence and deprivation. Later they moved back to Somalia before he came to New Zealand.

Reports says he had mental health difficulties, possible psychological illness, post-traumatic stress, poor language and cultural difficulties as well as problems functioning in the community.

He had served time in a Kenyan jail for indecent assault. He had committed the same crime here in under a year.

Since then he has appeared multiple times for similar offending.

While in jail in 2012 he was seriously assaulted, receiving a head injury and broken jaw. Family later said his behaviour changed.

In a move rarely done here, a deportation order was served on Farah in 2008 but not executed.  Somalia had no government at the time that could issue a passport or travel documents.

Under the Immigration Act a refugee cannot be deported unless the refugee convention allows expulsion for being convicted of a particularly serious crime and being a danger to the country of refuge.

In Farah’s case Immigration New Zealand’s Cancellation Assessment Panel assessed there was not sufficient evidence to meet the provisions to cancel refugee status under section 145 (b) (iii) of the Immigration Act, and therefore Farah was not able to be deported.

What to do with him now

On the same day he touched the elderly woman, Farah went up to a woman watching a video on her phone and wearing earphones while she walked. He put his arm around her shoulders and asked her name. She threw him off and ran to a nearby service station.

One victim said she was shocked, felt unsafe, lost confidence and independence, and had to change her daily routine after the incident.

He has pleaded guilty to assault and indecent assault.

Now a Porirua District Court judge is again considering how to deal with him.

It’s not an easy fix.  Farah has now been in custody long enough that any prison sentence imposed upon him has been effectively served.

Judge Jan Kelly had to reflect his previous offendings in her sentence as well as take into account his multiple issues.

She considered a jail term of about six months but acknowledged it meant he would be released almost immediately.

The judge identified that the most serious part was making sure he did not reoffend and to do that he needed to get targeted help.

“The issue for me today is what sentence would best enable meaningful rehabilitation and would enable Mr Farah to receive counselling and oversight to reduce his risk of reoffending and to balance that against the interests of the victims and the need to protect the public.”

She imposed a year’s intensive supervision to try and get him specialised treatment.

Judge’s difficult sentencing of a former refugee who won’t stop offending.

One thought on “Any suggestions? Judge’s difficult sentencing of a former refugee who won’t stop offending.

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