Convicted drug smuggler and fraudster Karel Sroubek could be released from prison in a matter of weeks and the Government must provide assurances the public’s safety won’t be at risk, National’s Justice spokesperson Mark Mitchell says.

“Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway granted residency to the convicted drug smuggler with a record of fraud, identity theft, and serious assault.  Mr Lees-Galloway didn’t even read the file properly before granting him residency.

“Sroubek is due to appear before the Parole Board in the week of 16 September. There is every possibility he will be released into the community.

“Sroubek’s legal team filed an appeal with the Immigration and Protection Tribunal on 18 December last year, yet still no hearing date appears to have been set.

“If released from prison, Sroubek can’t be deported as he’s currently in the middle of that appeal process. He could be back on our streets within weeks.

“New Zealanders need assurances their safety won’t be put at risk. If the Minister can’t provide them, he should stay behind bars.

"Iain Lees-Galloway’s decision to grant Sroubek residency continues to jeopardise the safety of the New Zealand public.

“Despite the Government’s best efforts to sweep this under the carpet, New Zealanders won’t forget the Minister granted residency to a convicted drug smuggler while denying residency applications to law-abiding immigrants and vastly increasing visa processing times.

“If Sroubek is released, New Zealanders need to know he will not pose a threat to the public.”

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