A man who left New Zealand as a baby has won his battle against deportation from Australia over offences dating back two decades.
The man, 37, was introduced to heroin in Sydney when he was 13-years-old and carried out a series of robberies to fund his habit, going to jail in 1999, when he was just 18. He was released but had his parole cancelled because of a positive drug test. He then failed to hand himself in, the Australian administrative appeals tribunal heard.
He intended to hand himself in once he was on medication to treat his addiction, but his wife fell pregnant and their baby then died after three days on life-support. His wife's depression and mental illness got worse and she became suicidal.
"He described his own state of mind as 'destroyed' but the toll on his wife was worse and he had to be strong for her and support her, as he still does," the Australian administrative appeals tribunal ruled.
He was arrested in November and recalled to prison under the conditions of his parole. He was paroled again in March, being put into immigration detention until his appeal.
Relatives told the tribunal that the father-of-one was a changed man after his marriage and looked after his father, who had dementia.
"If, as he no doubt feared, he had been required to serve out the remainder of his 6.5 year sentence, that is, for 2.5 years, the effect on his wife may have been catastrophic. She had more than once contemplated suicide."
He was not likely to reoffend and his wife's ill-health would be worsened if she had to leave the country with him.
The tribunal's deputy president Brian Rayment said the man was "rehabilitated".
"Not only because of the declarations he made, but because of the long passage of time since his last offending.
"The offending was as a juvenile and a very young adult over some five years. He has every incentive to remain law-abiding."
He also took into account that the man had lived in Australia since he was a year old.