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Compensation settlement for wrongfully detained citizen.

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Senator Chris Evans Minister for Immigration and Citizenship

Compensation settlement for wrongfully detained citizen

Friday, 2 May 2008

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, has welcomed a NSW Supreme Court decision to approve a compensation settlement for an Australian citizen who was unlawfully detained by the department more than four years ago.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons but is known as Mr T, was detained on three separate occasions by the department as a suspected unlawful non-citizen between 1999 and 2003. He was later found to be an Australian citizen.

Mr T was compensated for mental and physiological suffering during the eight-and-a-half months he spent in detention.

'This was obviously a very traumatic experience for Mr T and we hope this settlement will now enable him to move forward with his life,' Senator Evans said.

'The department publicly apologised to Mr T in March 2006 when the circumstances of his detention came to light.

'At the agreement of both parties, the details of the settlement will remain confidential.'

Mr T was one of the 247 cases referred by the department in 2005 and 2006 for investigation by the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

'It is a priority of the Rudd Government to resolve these long-standing and regrettable immigration legacies of the former Howard government,' Senator Evans said.

Some of the priority cases resolved to date include a $2.6 million compensation settlement for Cornelia Rau and the granting of a permanent visa to Tony Tran, who was wrongfully detained for five years and assaulted whilst in detention.

The department has since established and implemented a number of reforms including a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week immigration status checking service for police, a case management framework to deal with Australia's most vulnerable immigration clients and detention review managers, who regularly monitor whether

detention is appropriate and if there is still a reasonable suspicion someone is unlawfully in Australia.

'We need to continue to improve our processes to rebuild public confidence in the system,' Senator Evans said.