By Gill Bonnett of RNZ
An appeal by convicted drug smuggler Karel Sroubek against his deportation will be heard in July.
The Immigration and Protection Tribunal will decide if the kickboxer, who came into the country 18 years ago under an assumed name, will be sent back to the Czech Republic.
Sroubek, who was released on parole in September, came to prominence when he was granted residence by former Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway instead of being deported.
But the minister reversed his decision, issuing a new deportation liability notice claiming Sroubek never met the minimum statutory bar to enter New Zealand in the first place.
His deportation appeal will be heard in Auckland, in a hearing that is expected to take up to five days.
Sroubek told the Parole Board in August that he still fears for his safety if he is deported to his country of birth, where he claims he witnessed a murder.
Customs tipped off Immigration New Zealand six years ago that despite that fear Sroubek returned to the Czech Republic in 2009. That information never made it into the file Lees-Galloway read to make his initial decision in 2018.
A review of the case found the immigration file summary did not make it clear he was an excluded person and was granted a visa as a result of an administrative error, the grounds for the current deportation Sroubek now faces.
Wanted by Czech authorities
When he arrived in New Zealand under the name of Jan Antolik in 2003, he was wanted by Czech authorities as he had not served a four-and-a-half-year jail term for attacking two police officers and a taxi driver.
He gained New Zealand residence in 2008 and was cleared of charges of kidnapping and aggravated robbery a year later.
In his 2011 immigration trial for using a false passport, Sroubek explained why he fled his home country, alleging corrupt Czech police were forcing him to make a false statement in relation to a murder he witnessed and threatening to charge him if he did not. Concern about what would happen to him if he was deported prompted the trial judge to discharge him without conviction.
A further conviction in New Zealand was quashed on appeal, but in 2016 he was found guilty of importing drugs which - together with the lies he had told immigration - led to him facing the first deportation liability.
Sroubek, who told the Parole Board he had job offers to work in IT on his release, served four-and-a-half years of an almost six-year sentence for importing almost 5kg of MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy.
Timeline of Karel Sroubek aka Jan Antolik
• June and October 1999: Attacks against police officers and taxi driver, for which he was convicted and sentenced to 54 months' prison (apparently he never served this sentence)
• September 7, 2003: Murder of Vladimir Domacka
• September 16, 2003, and November 29, 2003: Arrives visa-free on Jan Antolik passport; granted visitor permits until 2005 when he applies for work visa
• May 2005 to June 2008: Held work permits under the Work to Residence, Talent - Sports Category as Jan Antolik identity; travels offshore eight times
• November 5, 2007: Residence application under Residence from Work, Talent - Sports Category, under Antolik identity
• June 6, 2008: Residence approved
• 2009: Two trips overseas, including a visit to the Czech Republic
• October 2009: Czech police contact NZ police to advise that Sroubek was living in New Zealand under the Antolik identity. Interpol notice advises he is wanted in Czech Republic as he had a connection to the murder of Domacka in 2003. (Czech authorities in 2018 confirmed he is not charged with murder.)
• November 16, 2009: Arrested for offences against the Immigration Act 1987
• November 4, 2011: Jury finds him guilty of immigration offences
• January 2012: Resolutions receives referral, begins assessing case under s156 of the Immigration Act 2009
• February 2012: Discharge without conviction on immigration charges after completing 200 hours' community service
• April 2012: INZ advised of pending charges
• 2012: Relationship begins with a New Zealand citizen
• February 2013: Resolutions decides there is a prima facie case under s156 (false identity) and writes to Sroubek advising him of that
• March 2013: Response from Sroubek's lawyer received. Lawyer notes pending charges
• May 2013: Case placed on hold awaiting outcome of pending charges
• September 17, 2014: Separate drug offending committed (importation of ecstasy)
• September 20, 2014: Arrested on second lot of drugs charges (importation of ecstasy). Earlier lot of drugs charges did not result in conviction
• June 3, 2016: Sentenced for importing ecstasy offending - 5 years and nine months' imprisonment. Conviction later appealed
• December 11, 2017: Court of Appeal dismisses Sroubek's appeal
• January 2018: Period where Sroubek can appeal to the Supreme Court expires. Resolutions reactivates deportation case
• March 29, 2018: INZ writes to Sroubek through his lawyer seeking his comment on deportation liability for drug conviction and holding a visa in a false identity
• September 19, 2018: Decision made by Minister to grant new residence visa with conditions imposed in his new identity.
• November 2018: Minister overturns his decision, Sroubek has new deportation liability notice for being an excluded person whose visas were granted as a result of "administrative error"
• September 2019: review of Sroubek case and ministerial decision-making in deportation cases recommends officials take over the cases previously decided by ministers
• August 2020: Parole Board decides to release Sroubek in September.