Minister reverses killer doctor’s deportation order
A Sri Lankan-born doctor who was facing deportation over the manslaughter of her abusive husband could be released back into the Geraldton community next month after her visa was reinstated.
Chamari Liyanage was jailed for four years in February over the fatal bashing of her “manipulative and merciless” husband Dinendra Athukorala in Geraldton in 2014.
She has been eligible for parole since June but was facing deportation on release after her visa was automatically cancelled on character grounds.
Liyanage’s friends in the Geraldton community campaigned tirelessly to convince the Immigration Department to review the mandatory cancellation.
Her case recently came to the attention of domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty, who wrote to Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and asked him to consider allowing Liyanage to stay in Australia.
“She is very thankful to the department and the minister for their compassionate consideration of her request,” Mr Putt said.
“She was also extremely moved by the level of support from the Australian public.”
Mr Putt argued Liyanage’s case involved exceptional circumstances and the offending was out of character and unlikely to be repeated.
During Liyanage’s murder trial, the jury was told Dr Athukorala engaged in unusual sexual practices, forced his wife to take part in threesomes and controlled her movements and finances.
Geraldton resident Charmaine Trezona, who befriended Liyanage when they were both working at a nursing home, spoke to her after her visa was reinstated.
She said Liyanage was “on top of the world” and could not wait to live a normal life outside Greenough Regional Prison.
“She said she could not wait to go out, go shopping and get out of her orange and brown uniform,” Ms Trezona said.
“She was so excited and she is just so thankful for everyone’s help and support.”
Ms Trezona said Liyanage had been doing “all of the things she was never allowed to do” in prison, including painting and crochet.
The former doctor has also been studying and writing a book in the hope of using her experience to help other victims of domestic violence.
Liyanage was acquitted of murder after a three-week trial but was found guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter.
Her application for parole will be heard next month.
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