Aussie ex-bikie granted refugee status
AN AUSTRALIAN man has reportedly been granted refugee status in Canada amid fears for his life after he infiltrated the Bandidos bikie gang.
Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) granted Stevan Utah refugee status after hearing evidence about how he had acted as an undercover informant for the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) during an operation against bikie gangs in 2006, the ABC reported on Monday.
The decision by the IRB is considered highly unusual given Mr Utah comes from Australia, which while a democratic country has been found to be lacking when it came to protecting him.
Mr Utah, a former soldier, fled Australia after his cover was blown and Bandidos members tried to kill him on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.
The IRB ruled that Mr Utah had presented "clear and convincing evidence" of the failure by Australian authorities to provide him with adequate protection from the Bandidos.
"I do find that the claimant would more likely than not face a serious risk to his life, almost immediately on his return to Australia," IRB member Jodie Schmalzbauer wrote in a judgment obtained by the ABC.
Mr Utah said he was no longer an Australian.
"What was done to me years ago is not the cause of current serving members of policing agencies … nor did the sitting [federal] government do this to me," he told the ABC.
"But the institutions they currently serve most certainly did."
Mr Utah had given the ACC information about serious crimes, including the murder of Victorian man Earl Mooring, during his time as an informant.
The ACC's successor, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC), told the ABC it did not "comment on operational matters".