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National News

Class action by Manus Island detainees

manus island

THE MANUS ISLAND DETAINEES' CLASS ACTION

WHAT DOES IT INVOLVE?

- Class action on behalf of 1905 detainees held at Manus Island detention centre since 2012

- First of its kind to be heard by an Australian court

- Largest public examination of conditions and events at Manus Island detention centre, legal firm Slater and Gordon says

- Judge says it is not a commission of inquiry on merits of Australian government's offshore detention policy, but allegations against Commonwealth are serious

- Action launched by Slater and Gordon in December 2014

WHAT IS ALLEGED?

- That detainees suffered serious physical and psychological injuries as result of conditions in which they were held at Manus Island between November 2012 and 19 December 2014

- Includes period of February 2014 riots in which one detainee died

- Also seeking damages for false imprisonment following PNG Supreme Court decision that detention was unconstitutional

WHO ARE THE PLAINTIFFS?

- Lead plaintiff Iranian-born Majid Kamasaee, who was detained on Manus Island for number of years

- 1905 group members, covering majority of people detained on Manus Island since 2012

- About 1500 of them are either overseas or still in detention on Manus Island or in Australia

WHO ELSE IS INVOLVED?

- Commonwealth of Australia

- Service providers G4S and Broadspectrum (formerly Transfield) who operated centre under contract from Commonwealth

- Third parties - International Health and Medical Services (medical service provider on Manus) and Wilson Security

WHAT ABOUT THE TRIAL ITSELF?

- Begins in Victorian Supreme Court on May 15

- To last six months

- To be live streamed around the world

- 220,000 documents disclosed during proceedings; could be thousands more during trial

- Witnesses include current and former detainees; detainees sent to Australia for medical treatment; doctors who worked at detention centre; security workers; social workers

- Includes 41 current Manus Island detainees; eight people currently held in Australian detention centres

- 28 expert reports

Source: Slater and Gordon, Victorian Supreme Court

© AAP 2017

Image: A March 21, 2014 file image of Asylum seekers staring at media from behind a fence at the Manus Island detention centre, Papua New Guinea. PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill says the Manus Island detention centre will close following a decision by the PNG Supreme Court that declared it to be unconstitutional, Wednesday, April 27, 2016. (AAP Image/Eoin Blackwell)