A class action against the federal government on behalf of 1905 Manus Island detainees has settle day one of what was meant to be a six-month trial.
The Supreme Court of Victoria heard earlier today that the Commonwealth government and operates of the offshore detention centre had agreed to compensate the asylum seekers held there under poor conditions between 2012 and 2014.
Slater and Gordon principal lawyer Andrew Baker said the case had been settled for $70 million plus costs
“After three years investigation and legal action, the Commonwealth and its subcontractors, G4S and broad-spectrum, have agreed to a settlement of $70 million plus costs,” Mr Baker said at the press conference. “The Senate said this was the largest settlement in a human rights class-action in Australian legal history and we think this is true.”
The class action was seeking damages on behalf of 1905 group members who, legal firm Slater and Gordon says, cover the majority of people detained on Manus Island since 2012.
The detainees wanted compensation from the Australian government and the detention centre managers for alleged physical and psychological injuries they argue they suffered as a result of the conditions in which they were held.
The class action also sought damages for false imprisonment after the PNG Supreme Court ruled the detention of asylum seekers on Manus Island was unconstitutional.
The Australian government and the companies that have managed the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre, G4S Australia and Broadspectrum (formerly Transfield Services), had denied the claims.