Indonesian teen smugglers' names cleared

·2-min read

Six Indonesians who were children tried and jailed as adults in Western Australia for people smuggling have had their convictions overturned.

The six, aged between 13 and 17 at the time of their arrest, were intercepted on fishing boats in Australian waters in 2009.

It was often common practice for young boys to be lured on to boats from impoverished villages without knowledge that they would be smuggling people across international borders.

The group repeatedly told immigration officials they were children, which meant they should have been sent home. But police instead relied on X-rays of their wrists to determine their ages.

The X-rays determined the boys were adults and they were tried as such.

They were each sentenced to the mandatory minimum penalty for an adult of five years' imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of three years.

All six were released with conditions in 2012, after a Department of Immigration probe found their sentencing may have been "unsafe by reason of x-ray evidence".

On Tuesday, the WA Court of Appeal overturned the convictions of Rudi Usman, Hamzah Gogo, Maikel Husa, Vandi, Muhammas Maleng and Usman Ari.

The court found "a substantial miscarriage of justice" had occurred.

"The Crown accepts that there was no reliable evidence when each appellant was convicted and sentenced that he was of or over the age of 18 years," the court said.

All six were represented by Ken Cush and Associates.

Solicitor Sam Tierney said Tuesday's decision meant a lot for the men, who had been victims of a miscarriage of justice.

"They are extremely relieved at today's decision," Mr Tierney told AAP.

He said being sent to an adult maximum security prison as children and spending years inside would have a lasting impact on his clients who are now home with their families.

"It means that six more miscarriages of justice in the Australian record have now been cleared," he said.

"That makes eight convictions that have been overturned due to a miscarriage of justice.

"They are delighted."

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