A British citizen and convicted sex offender who has called Australia home since 1968 has won his appeal in the Federal Court against Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton's order to deport him.
South Coast grandfather David Degning, now 57, was released from Sydney's Villawood detention centre on Wednesday and reunited with his family after 16 months in detention.
Mr Degning's permanent visa was cancelled by Mr Dutton over criminal convictions including drink driving, stealing, and sexual intercourse with a woman who had a cognitive impairment.
In a dawn raid by Border Force officers in January 2018, Mr Degning was arrested at his Batemans Bay home and has been fighting the deportation order while in detention ever since.
On Wednesday his lawyer Stephen Blanks said Mr Degning's family was "elated" with the judgement to release him.
"I've only been able to speak to them over the phone, but they are elated with the result," Mr Blanks said.
"(They are) a little bit dazed as you can imagine, after spending 16 months in immigration detention, which isn't a pleasant environment.
"For David to be released on a few hours notice is a major event, and he will take a little bit of time to adjust to living as a free person."
Mr Degning migrated to Australia from the United Kingdom when he was seven years old, and until his arrest lived in Batemans Bay, where he worked as a tradesman.
In 2018, Mr Dutton found there was an "unacceptable risk of harm to the Australian community" if Mr Degning remained in the country, and said the "serious nature" of the sexual offence meant the community would expect Mr Degning should not hold a visa.
"Mr Degning and non-citizens who commit such offence[s] should not generally expect to be permitted to remain in Australia," Mr Dutton said in his reasons for the decision.
However Mr Blanks said justice was ultimately done in the Federal Court and called on Labor to resist such deportations.
"I think it's the right result; this is a chap who should not be removed from Australia," he said.
"There's no reason, in terms of protecting the Australian community, to deport him. There's no reason to break up this family unit."
However Mr Degning's struggle to remain in Australia may not be over yet, with options for Mr Dutton to reignite deportation proceedings still available.
"We hope that the Minister will see some sense and see that this is not a person who should be removed, and will not try to start the process again," Mr Blanks.
"If he does, David is just going to have to fight it, and he will fight it."
Mr Blanks said the case had wider implications.
"If the government wants to take action to remove somebody form Australia, they have to give them a fair go, and in this case they didn't," Mr Blanks said.
"People who have come to Australia as children and have grown up as Australians, and who, for whatever reason, have failed to get Australian citizenship, find themselves in this legally anomalous position where they can be removed, even though they think of themselves as being Australian, and everyone they know thinks of them as Australian.
"David is able to vote in Australian elections because British subjects who came to Australia at the time he did are entitled to vote.
"How peculiar is it that the migration laws allow someone to be removed from Australia who is entitled to vote here?"
Mr Degning called on the Australian Labor Party to break ranks with the Coalition on such deportations.
"It's extremely disturbing that Labor's policy on this is the same as the government's policy," he said.
"We need both sides of politics to look at how this policy really works and affects the Australian community, and face up to the need for real fairness and genuineness in making decisions."