No jail over Christmas Island charge

A young Vietnamese man who admitted throwing plastic chairs during a brawl with a group of Iranians at Christmas Island has been granted a spent conviction but could still go back into detention.

Nhan Van Nguyen, 22, pleaded guilty in Perth Magistrates Court to taking part in an unlawful assembly at the North West Point Immigration Detention Centre in September 2014.

The court was told on Tuesday that Nguyen’s parents were farmers in Vietnam and he came to Australia via Indonesia in 2013 following a government crackdown on Catholics.

He had been at Christmas Island for about eight months when the fight broke out after an Iranian man accused a Vietnamese man of taking his washing out of a dryer too early.

Nguyen now lives in Queensland where he studies child care at TAFE and does community volunteer work, the court heard.

He was sentenced to a six-month conditional release order with a $100 personal undertaking.

Magistrate Joe Randazzo said a $100 undertaking did not seem adequate to him, but parity was a factor in sentencing.

Eleven Iranians were previously dealt with by the courts for similar offences.

Magistrate Randazzo noted Nguyen had no criminal record, but his behaviour that night was “loud, noisy, disrupted the compound and created fear”.

Nguyen, who was only charged earlier this year, had been on a protection visa but that has now been cancelled and he could be forced back into detention, his lawyer said.

Six remaining Vietnamese men – Son Van Vo, Van Nhat Tran, Thai Van Tran, Van Duan Tran, Hung Van Pham and Dung Van Nguyen – still face a trial.

© AAP 2016

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