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Ombudsman says more serious detention cases y -

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TONY JONES: Last night we brought you the story of Tony Tran, a young Vietnamese man who was
wrongfully detained for five and a half years in Australian detention centres and separated from
his wife and his Australian-born son.

Today the Commonwealth Ombudsman told Lateline that other serious cases of wrongful detention are
yet to be made public. In a moment our interview with Labor's immigration spokesman Tony Burke, but
first this report by John Stewart.

JOHN STEWART: Tony Tran was born in Vietnam. He grew up in the United States as a refugee and
travelled to Australia in 1992 to visit his relatives.

There is no question that Tran's first marriage to a Vietnamese Australian was messy and ended
badly. He came before a magistrate in 1995 over domestic violence allegations. No conviction was
recorded against him, but he was put on probation and ordered to do community service. But he
failed to do the community service and as a result, was jailed for three and a half months.

Mr Tran put that behind him and over the next four years, re-established his life, married a South
Korean woman and bought a house. Then in 1999 immigration officials handcuffed Tran and took him to
jail. He would never see his wife again.

TONY TRAN: I didn't expect to locked up like that so I never get to say goodbye, or never get to
kiss my son.

MARGOT O'NEILL: Have you ever seen your wife again since that morning?

TONY TRAN: No.

MARGOT O'NEILL: That was the last time that you saw your wife, that morning?

TONY TRAN: Yes.

JOHN STEWART: Tony Tran believed that he had a valid visa but immigration officials told him it had
been cancelled years before but Tony Tran had not been properly notified of the cancellation. The
letter from immigration officials was returned unopened to the department.

DAVID MANNE, DIRECTOR, REFUGEE AND IMMIGRATION LEGAL CENTRE: He should never have been there in the
first place. he should never have been locked up. Under Australian law if you are not properly
notified of a decision, it is unlawful for you to be detained.

JOHN STEWART: The department allowed Tony Tran's son to travel to South Korea with his mother but
without his fathers knowledge or consent. His young son later returned to Australia and was placed
in foster care.

TONY TRAN: When they taken my child away that was when everything collapsed for me, mentally and
physically.

JOHN STEWART: In 2005 Tony Tran was set free and reunited with his son. After five and a half years
in detention he received a letter from the Government, admitting that he'd actually had a valid
visa since 1993.

Mr Tran has now been living in Australia for 14 years but could still be deported unless he is
given permanent residence. The Commonwealth Ombudsman reviewed the case and said Mr Tran's
detention was one of more than 200 where the Department of Immigration had wrongfully detained
people.

PROFESSOR JOHN MCMILLAN, COMMONWEALTH OMBUDSMAN: It is really up the individuals whether they want
to identify their cases publicly and you know, as the report from yesterday indicated, Mr Tran has
apparently given consent to his case to be identified publicly.

JOHN STEWART: But the details of the settlements or if legal proceedings are likely to come out one
way or the other whether it is through a departmental annual reports of through questions at
estimates hearings and things of that kind.

Democrats Senator Andrew Bartlett says as long as the mandatory detention laws remain in place,
some people will be wrongfully detained.

SENATOR ANDREW BARTLETT, DEMOCRATS: It is not just wrongfully getting a speeding ticket and being
able to get it repealed down the track. You can't un-jail someone. You can't undo the damage which
is done. That is why mandatory detention is such an abomination and that is why whoever forms
government after the election, the Democrats will continue to pressure through the Senate to get
that reform to the Migration Act.

JOHN STEWART: Like several other high-profile immigration cases, Tony Tran is seeking compensation
for his ordeal.

ANDREW BARTLETT: Well certainly on the face of it, it looks like a very good case for compensation.
As to what its level should be and how it should be applied that is really a matter for
negotiation.

JOHN STEWART: This evening a spokeswoman for Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews said that she
expected that details of the case would be brought before the Minister by early next week.

John Stewart, Lateline.