Maltese man’s pending deportation from Australia leaves family devastated

John Falzon, 66, who served eight years in prison for cannabis trafficking, is to be deported to Malta after the Australian High Court upheld a decision to withdraw his visa on character grounds

Relatives and supporters rally in Melbourne calling for John Falzon, right, to remain in Australia
Relatives and supporters rally in Melbourne calling for John Falzon, right, to remain in Australia

The sister of a Maltese man who was convicted in Australia for drug trafficking, has told MaltaToday the family is in despair after the High Court has ordered his deportation back to Malta.

John Falzon, 66, emigrated to Australia with his parents and four brothers in 1956, when he was just three years old, but he never became an Australian citizen.

In 2008, he pleaded guilty to cannabis trafficking and was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment. But after serving his sentence, the authorities cancelled his visa on character grounds and transferred him to a detention centre on Christmas Island.

Falzon took his case to the High Court, arguing that he’d served his time for his crime and that the government was trying to punish him further by ordering his deportation.

But, on Tuesday, the High Court dismissed his case, leaving Falzon and his family in despair.

The court found that if the immigration minister was satisfied that a person had failed the character test because of a substantial criminal record, he had to cancel the person’s visa.

His sister Ann, who was born in Australia, told MaltaToday that John’s family was devastated by the High Court’s decision.

“As you can imagine, we have all taken the news very hard because we know that this is the end of the road, there is nothing else John or we can do,” she said.

She confirmed that there was no family left in Malta and that the government’s decision would leave her brother penniless in a country he did not know, without any relatives or friends.

“I don’t want him to go back, none of us do, we have no more money to help him with and he will have nothing and no one in Malta,” an emotional Ann said.

"We’ve been waiting already how many years and we just get let down after let down. All this is over his marijuana. He grew a bit of marijuana and they locked him up for 8 years and now he’s been in detention for three years. He just wanted to come home.”

Falzon's family in Australia includes two sisters, four brothers, four adult children and ten grandchildren.