Australia will not deny convicted killer a visa based on character

Oct. 30, 2013 at 12:53 AM

SYDNEY, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- An English writer convicted of two killings will not be denied an Australian visa based on his character, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said Tuesday.

Erwin James, now a columnist for The Guardian newspaper, is scheduled to speak Sunday at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas at The Sydney Opera House, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. Morrison's decision means James' criminal history will not be a factor in deciding whether he gets a visa.

"His application for a visa will be assessed by the department in the usual way," a Morrison spokeswoman said.

Australia has used the "character" requirement to deny visas to Irish republican leader Gerry Adams, U.S. rapper Snoop Dogg and British Holocaust denier David Irving.

James is expected to speak on rehabilitation in a talk titled "A Killer Can Be a Good Neighbor." A spokeswoman for the Opera House said she expected a decision Wednesday on his visa.

James was released in 2004 after serving 20 years of a life sentence. He and an accomplice were convicted of killing two men during robberies in 1982.

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