Exiled to NZ: Convicted robber tells of time on Christmas Island and separation from daughter

Ricardo Young left New Zealand when he was four-years-old, but was sent back to NZ after serving two years jail for aggravated robbery.

Relative still in dark about Christmas Island detainee whereabouts

12 NOV 2015 - 9:15PM

Sydney woman Nakita Regan has told SBS News she believes her partner Ricardo Young, 30, was one of the men taken to Western Australia following a riot at the Christmas Island detention centre.

Ms Regan said she has been unable to confirm his whereabouts through the Immigration Department or the prison in Western Australia.

She said the last time she heard from her partner was early on Tuesday morning.

"I was in contact with [Border Force] that night," she said.

"I told them that there [were] 15 Kiwis inside blue-compound. They asked me to contact them and tell them that [Border Force] will be entering the compound.

"Ricardo was with an elderly Samoan gentleman and he was extremely distressed and in panic."

Ms Regan said has sent SBS recordings of phone calls in which she says her partner is shot by a rubber bullet as Border Force officers entered the detention centre.

In the recordings an obviously upset Ms Regan tries to speak to Young and an alarm can be heard sounding in the background.

She said Young was not involved in the riot, but was trying to help shelter other detainees from the unrest.

Lawyers for Young say he was transferred into immigration detention earlier this year from Sydney’s Silverwater prison after serving a two-year sentence for aggravated assault and robbery.

They say, although he has lived in Australia since childhood and has a young child with Ms Regan, his visa was cancelled under recent changes to the immigration character test. 

The riot was sparked by the death of an Iranian detaine who escaped the compound on the weekend and later died.

Seven men - five New Zealanders, a Tongan and an Afghan - involved in the unrest were transferred to a Perth prison overnight and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has indicated more detainees could be moved.

"We're just not going to tolerate this kind of behaviour," he told Sydney radio 2GB.

It's believed the first group are mostly convicted criminals whose visas have been cancelled.

The immigration department initially estimated the damage bill at about $1 million.

But Mr Dutton said the figure had been upgraded to $10 million.

He also confirmed detainees broke into a medical clinic, removing drugs, and a storage area for gardening equipment.

"These people will have to pay for the damage they have caused through the criminal courts," he said.

Mr Dutton has spoken to Serco, the company managing the centre, amid reports guards in the main control room didn't recognise the perimeter alarm which sounded when the detainee got out.

His absence wasn't detected for two hours.

Mr Dutton said Border Force officers were examining what went wrong.

"Clearly, at a management level, we need to get an understanding how it is they are going to guarantee this sort of incident doesn't occur again," he said.

"It's unacceptable."

- with AAP

'Is he coming home dead?' - Little girl's fears for Kiwi dad on Christmas Island

Tue, Sep 29

Nakita Regan's five-year-old daughter writes letters to God begging for her father to come home.

But since Ricardo Young was shifted to remote Christmas Island Immigration Detention Centre in the Indian Ocean, she has questions.

"When's daddy coming home? Is he coming home dead? Does he have food? Does he have clothes?," said a tearful Nakita Regan, repeating the young girl's questions in an interview with ONE News.

Young was granted parole after serving two years for assault and aggravated robbery.


But instead of going home, he went to Sydney's Villawood detention centre to await deportation, then last week was shifted to Christmas Island unexpectedly.

"If there's no family in my life, what's the use of living"
Ricardo Young

"They ran on me at three o'clock in the morning, three to four in the morning with all batons. They didn't even negotiate and say 'listen you're going here.' They just came in and started whacking us," Mr Young told ONE News by phone from Christmas Island.

Following revelations about the death of Junior Togatuki in a New South Wales prison, the Sydney mother is worried her family could be next.

"He has expressed to me that he'd rather be dead than be there," Ms Regan said.

'Jail's way better than this' – Kiwi inmate slams conditions on Christmas Island

Australia's Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, has spoken with her New Zealand counterpart Murray McCully and Prime Minister John Key.

"I confirm that there will be a investigation by the New South Wales police. I also confirm that our immigration minister will meet with your immigration minister to discuss that matter," Ms Bishop said.

The treatment of the almost 200 New Zealanders held in immigration centres will be on the agenda too, Mr McCully saying Ms Bishop has been "helpful".


"It's a matter where Australia has got to make its own policies. But they clearly are quite happy to take into account any representations that we make," he said.

Young, who moved to Australia 27 years ago, is begging authorities to move quickly. 

"If there's no family in my life, what's the use of living," he said. 

His next move is in the Australian authorities' hands.

'He's a product of Australia', partner of detainee says

Another New Zealander, Ricardo Young, was sentenced to two years' jail in New South Wales for aggravated robbery and assault.

On the morning of his release date, Young was transferred from Silverwater Jail to Villawood Immigration Detention Centre and on September 24, he was transported, allegedly without warning, to Christmas Island Detention Centre.

PHOTO: Ricardo Young has told Nakita Regan through text messages that his mental state is deteriorating. (Supplied)

His partner, Sydney woman Nakita Regan, is the mother of his five-year-old daughter.

"We understand that he has done wrong but he also has paid his time. If Ricardo did a serious crime, I totally understand it but we have everything here and nothing in New Zealand," she said.

"I ask Mr Turnbull to just find it in your heart and see that there will be more damage to people than good."

Young communicates with Ms Regan through text messages. He has told her his mental state is deteriorating in the conditions on Christmas Island and that he would rather be in jail.

She and her daughter previously visited Young every weekend, but now an offering of support is impossible.

"It's his 30th birthday this week and for me to travel and go see him, that would cost me $4,000," she said.

"When he was in jail and detained in New South Wales we would visit and give him that moral support every weekend and that includes our lawyers seeing him too.

"You need to be able to access them. My daughter has been asking me if daddy is going to come home dead."

Young has two options: to stay on Christmas Island or sign paperwork to release himself and go back to New Zealand.

"To me, it feels like he's been put there so he's forced to sign the paperwork, but I'm an Australian, so is his daughter," she said.

"He played first grade football here and was educated here. He's a product of Australia."