Murder Charge Dropped in WA Detention Centre Due to Witness's Death

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Murder Charge Dropped in WA Detention Centre Due to Witness's Death

Mohammad Al Lami, a 31-year-old Iranian detainee at the Yongah Hill detention centre in WA, was accused of fatally stabbing a 32-year-old Turkish man during a fight in June 2022. The incident escalated into a disturbance that resulted in emergency services, including the riot squad, being called to bring the situation under control. Despite efforts to save the victim, he could not be revived and was pronounced dead after being rushed to Northam hospital.

Refugee advocates revealed that the victim had been held at Yongah Hill for approximately three years before signing a document agreeing to return to Turkey about a year before the fatal altercation. Following the fatal stabbing, Mr. Al Lami was charged with murder and transferred to prison, where he has been in custody since the incident. Although he initially pleaded not guilty, a provisional Supreme Court trial scheduled for February next year was discontinued by WA's Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions due to the death of a key witness who was present during the alleged murder.

The prosecution lawyer, Sean Stocks, explained to the court that with the death of the witness, there were no longer reasonable prospects of securing a conviction against Mr. Al Lami. He considered presenting the witness's statement during the trial but deemed it unfair to the accused due to the circumstances of the case. Consequently, Justice Joseph McGrath informed Mr. Al Lami that he would be released from custody after processing, even though he is likely to return to immigration detention despite no longer facing criminal charges.