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Australia will pay $27m compensation to Indonesians held in adult jails when they were children


The commonwealth this week agreed to settle a class action brought by the Indonesians, some who were as young as 12 when they were locked up in adult prisons and prosecuted in adult courts as people smugglers between 2010 and 2012 during the highly charged political climate around border protection.

Despite many of the Indonesians telling authorities they were children, federal police relied on a wrist X-ray technique to convince courts they were, in fact, adults, paving the way for their prosecution as adult people smugglers.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs, Ken Cush & Associates, will spend the next 12 months searching for additional Indonesians who may be eligible for compensation.

Image by Tingey Injury Law Firm

Man jailed during routine property dispute wins $300,000 after suing judge over ‘fundamental errors’


A man, represented by Ken Cush and Associates, took the unusual step of suing judge Salvatore Vasta personally, alleging the judge’s conduct amounted to false imprisonment.


The Federal Court found on Wednesday that inferior court judge Salvatore Vasta made a series of basic errors, exceeded his jurisdiction, and engaged in a “gross and obvious irregularity of procedure” when he locked up the man in late 2018, and awarded the man $309,450 in damages.

The man detailed a harrowing account of the seven days he spent behind bars – including a rape threat, suicidal ideation, and an assault – before a higher court intervened to overturn Vasta’s decision, which it later described as an “affront to justice”.

ACT government backflips on forced relocation of public housing tenants after 'flawed' decisions


The ACT government has backflipped on its forced relocation of more than 150 public housing tenants after a legal challenge forced it to concede its decision-making process was flawed.

The government today wrote to a further 154 tenants saying the "previous decision requiring you to relocate will not apply because the decision-making process was flawed."

Ken Cush & Associates, which is representing the tenants, said it will "continue to support our vulnerable clients through this ongoing process."

Frankly, how are we ever going to close the gap?


THE Supreme Court of the ACT delivered its decision in the case of Brown v Director-General of the Justice and Community Safety Directorate on April 11.


Central to the case brought by Ms Brown was the obligation imposed on ACT Corrective Services to ensure, consistent with the Human Rights Act and the Corrections Management Act, that detainees in the AMC have access to health services equivalent to those available to people not incarcerated in the ACT.

Victorian court upholds ruling finding Catholic church liable for sexual abuse by paedophile priest


Victoria’s highest court has ruled that the Catholic church is vicariously liable for sexual abuse by a paedophile priest because he was a “servant of the diocese” whose role gave him the “power and intimacy” to access and abuse children.

Ken Cush & Associates’ special counsel, Sangeeta Sharmin, said the case would help countless other survivors and described the court of appeal’s decision as a “welcome one”.

“The court of appeal has found that the abusing priest was the emanation of the diocese of Ballarat in Port Fairy and that the diocese gave the Priest the opportunity and the occasion to abuse DP in the family home,” she said.

Image by Anis Coquelet

Abuse survivors in bid to seize Catholic properties after church fails to pay court costs


Abuse survivors are attempting to seize Catholic church properties, including a Catholic order’s Sydney headquarters, to cover legal costs after their bills went unpaid, despite a court order.


The Catholic order said there was “unfortunately” a delay in paying the bill, blaming the mistake on an unnamed “third party”. It said it was now attempting to make urgent payment to the survivors’ lawyers, Ken Cush and Associates.

But the three survivors and their lawyers have already applied to seize Marist Brothers property.

Image by Ye Jinghan

Australian government ordered to mediate with Indonesians jailed in adult prisons while still children

"Scores of Indonesian youths who were wrongly jailed as adults in Australia are a step closer to getting justice, after the Federal Court ordered the Commonwealth to enter mediation over their long-running claim for damages.


At least 120 Indonesians – now young men – are suing the federal government, alleging they were victims of a miscarriage of justice."


The new reforms turning the tide for child abuse survivors


"For years, many victims and survivors of child sexual abuse were given pitiful amounts of compensation from the institutions responsible, subject to gag orders and unable to take further legal action. But new laws across the country are removing these barriers to justice and allowing some to claim greater amounts of compensation, in what is being hailed as a “watershed moment”.

Silhouette of Cross Against Sky

Marist Brothers appointed known child abuser as principal of Melbourne school in 1980, court told


"A Catholic order made the “unthinkable” decision to appoint a known child abuser as the principal of one of its Melbourne schools, allowing him to molest boys in his office unchecked on a “regular basis”, a court has heard."


Water Foam

The Indonesian children Australia wrongly imprisoned in adult jails

“In 2009… Indonesian children were wrongly jailed in Australia as adult people smugglers. [The] Western Australia court of appeal [has] overturned their convictions and found ‘a substantial miscarriage of justice has occurred’”.

See podcast from the Full Story. Presented by Laura Murphy-Oates and reported by Christopher Knaus. Produced by Joe Koning, Ellen Leabeater and Joey Watson.

Indonesian children jailed in Australia as adult people smugglers win court battle to clear their names


"Six Indonesian children wrongly jailed in Australia as adult people smugglers have cleared their names in a case exposing a grave and “substantial miscarriage of justice”.

The six Indonesians, aged between 13 and 17 at the time of their arrest, were intercepted on fishing boats in Australian waters in 2009, during the highly charged political climate around border protection.

Police Car Lights

Former ACT official says police and mental health staff should have helped Brontë Haskins before her suicide


"A former senior health official has conceded that staff should have followed up pleas for help from the family of a young Canberra woman before her suicide. The concession came on the final day of an coronial inquest into the death of 23-year-old Brontë Haskins."


"The coroner is investigating why police and health workers did not follow up a plea to help her."

Law Firm

Victorian Catholic diocese found vicariously liable for child sexual abuse in landmark ruling


"The Catholic church’s failed attempt to argue it was not responsible for a priest’s abuse of a five-year-old, because it took place during after-hours “social” visits, has been slammed as “ruthless” by the survivor and an “affront to common sense” by a judge."

The survivor’s lawyers, Ken Cush & Associates, say the ruling is a landmark win that will help countless others."

Hospital Corridor

Canberra gynaecologist Omar Adham cautioned about obtaining inadequate consent for procedure as AHPRA investigates complaints


"The medical regulator is investigating complaints from seven of Dr Adham's former patients

Dr Adham was cautioned last year after he asked a patient to consent to an additional procedure while she was lying on a gurney"


Judge Salvatore Vasta accused of putting Queensland father through ‘grossest parody of court hearing’ by wrongly jailing him

"In a rare case, Judge Salvatore Paul Vasta is being personally sued by a Gold Coast man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, after the man claims he was “falsely imprisoned”.


Orroral Valley fire draft terms of reference outlined in ACT Coroner's Court

"The lawyer for a group of NSW residents just across the border is fighting for them to take part in the coronial inquiry into the Orroral Valley fire that tore through a national park and sparked two fires in the Snowy Mountains."

Aborigine Bark Painting_edited.jpg

Indigenous woman sues ACT over forced strip search her legal team alleges amounts to ‘torture’


"An Aboriginal woman sexual assault survivor with a serious heart condition who was forcibly strip-searched by a team of prison officers is suing the Australian Capital Territory government for breaching her human rights, arguing that her treatment was degrading and humiliating and amounted to torture."

City Sky

Kone Australia loses bid to overturn ACT Supreme Court finding of negligence after Woden elevator plummets


"A global engineering firm found to have breached its duty of care after one of its Canberra elevators plummeted and injured four women, leaving one at
risk of becoming a quadriplegic, has had parts of its ACT court appeal described as having no substance"


ACT Coroner to examine time Australian Army took to report Orroral Valley fire's location to emergency services

"A coronial inquiry into a bushfire accidentally sparked by a Defence chopper will focus on the 45 minutes that elapsed between when the blaze was sparked and when emergency services were informed of its location."

Abuse survivors of now-deceased priest line up to seek compensation

The first in a series of civil cases seeking compensation for abuse survivors and victims of a now-deceased paedophile priest is expected to begin in the Supreme Court on Monday.

The complainants are seeking compensation for loss of income, pain and suffering, and medical expenses, and include children who were allegedly abused by Coffey in the south-west Victorian towns of Port Fairy, Terang and Yambuk, as well as Ouyen in the Mallee.


Bid by Catholic church to stop child sexual abuse case rejected by NSW supreme court

"The Catholic church tried to stop a survivor suing it over the childhood abuse she suffered at the hands of a parish priest in northern New South Wales, despite its own records showing it knew the man was a paedophile but did nothing other than move him from parish to parish."


Indigenous inmate sues ACT government over ‘vile and racist’ image allegedly drawn by prison staff

"A vulnerable Indigenous inmate who prison officers allegedly depicted hanging from a noose on a prison whiteboard is suing the Australian Capital Territory government, alleging the drawing was a “vile and racist caricature” of “another Indigenous person they wished to see die in custody."

Church Candles

Survivors abused by 'sadistic' priest win compensation battle, but money 'won't change' impact

"Two men who were abused by a paedophile priest in regional Victoria in the 1960s have reached landmark settlement agreements with the Catholic Church. The two abuse survivors were abused by Father Bryan Coffey between 1965 and 1968 while he served as assistant priest in Port Fairy, in south-west Victoria"

Catholic organisations admit liability for now-deceased paedophile priest Bryan Coffey

"Two Catholic organisations have admitted liability in the Supreme Court related to the actions of a now-deceased paedophile priest. An expert says the admission removes a massive legal hurdle for abuse survivors and victims of Father Bryan Coffey who are now seeking compensation."


Canberra gynaecologist Omar Adham being investigated by AHPRA.

'They went to Dr Adham for help with very private health issues but are now going public because their lives have been changed forever following multiple operations with many different doctors.'


'They want other women to be aware of the problems which can arise following seemingly simple gynaecological procedures.'

Man personally suing judge for compensation over 'gross miscarriage of justice'

"A man has taken the rare step of personally suing a judge for compensation after he was jailed for contempt in family law proceedings and held for six days in custody, during which he says he was bashed, became suicidal and woke up to his cellmate strangling him... It is alleged Judge Vasta is liable for false imprisonment and collateral abuse of process."

Palm Tree

The Boys in the Boat
- By Jo Tuscano

"On 27th April 2010 Colin Singer got out of a taxi and walked towards the Perth prison. He was about to begin his usual visits to the prisoners as part of his Official Visitor role. On that day, the Superintendent of the prison, the Deputy Superintendent, and the prison chaplain were waiting for him at the gate. This was unusual. Something was wrong."


Khayla Reno: Canberra Hospital to turn off life support for unborn baby

"The father of an unborn baby feels like a “condemned man proceeding to an execution” after losing a legal battle preventing hospital administrators turning off the life support of his pregnant partner."

Paedophile priest worked at Darwin school decades after conviction

"A FORMER Anglican priest who was twice convicted of sexually abusing teenage boys worked as a priest and chaplain at a Darwin school decades after the Anglican Church had been made aware of his offending."

Indonesians jailed as children in Australia take case to Federal Court

"10 years after they were jailed for being crew members on asylum seeker boats, a group of eight young Indonesian men will today ask the Federal Court for a ruling that may ultimately quash their convictions."

Catholic church attempts to stop one of its own priests from suing it for child abuse

"The Catholic church is attempting to stop one of its own priests from suing it for child abuse because he took too long to come forward, prompting criticism that it has learned nothing from the royal commission.


The Lismore diocese plans to seek a permanent stay in the New South Wales supreme court to prevent one of its priests from suing for abuse he suffered as a 12-year-old altar boy."

Catholic parish priest sues church over alleged sexual abuse as an altar boy 


"The priest alleging Father Anderson sexually abused him is one of 11 people seeking compensation from the Diocese of Lismore because of Anderson's alleged abuse. The case will include the circumstances of his leaving the priesthood and whether the diocese took steps to remove him from ministry because of child sex allegations."

New freedom bittersweet: David Eastman


"A former Treasury official has spoken for the first time of the "bittersweet" feeling of freedom after 19 years behind bars.

David Eastman is seeking damages in the ACT Supreme Court for the time he spent in jail for murder.

The 74-year-old was found not guilty during a retrial last year of murdering federal police assistant commissioner Colin Winchester in 1989."

We need to humanise the way PTSD is treated in Australia


"PTSD is very poorly diagnosed or verified in Australia and is being unsympathetically treated by employers, unions, and health, insurance and regulatory bureaucracies.


Their initial responses are sluggish, if not constituting benign neglect, before the "system" does as much as it can to delay the process of funding and delivering essential treatment."

Canberra man with disability trapped and abused in wheelchair cab by driver

"He got very aggressive and threatening, so I backed right down," Mr Higgins said.

"I realised I was tied down and had nowhere to go, and if this guy started getting physical, I was in a lot of trouble."

Eventually Mr Higgins said the driver settled down long enough to drive him to his destination, the Canberra Hospital, but the abuse flared up again during the drop off.

Abuse ‘devastated’ Ouyen

Canberra-based law firm Ken Cush and Associates principal solicitor Mark Barrow yesterday said that while some of Father Bryan Coffey’s victims were now strong enough to come forward, their pain and suffering was still evident today.      

Date set down in Eastman compensation case for wrongful imprisonment


After 19 years in jail fighting for his release, David Eastman will have to wait a few more months for his day in court to seek compensation from the ACT government for wrongful imprisonment.

Kiwi victims of Catholic paedophile priest still sought

Lawyers acting for a victim of one of Australia's worst paedophile Catholic priests believe there are likely to be more young girls affected by his actions living in New Zealand.

No minor matter: Indonesian children jailed in Australia seek justice

Back in Indonesia, Jasmin says he is grateful his conviction was overturned but he will continue to fight. He had been advised a complaint to the Human Rights Commission was the best way to proceed.

Lawsuit after boy mauled by dogs at ACT Housing property

It is alleged the territory failed to ensure the property was safe, did not enforce the terms of the tenancy agreement, failed to make sure the property was suitable to keep dogs, and failed to remove the dogs.

Investigation turns to regional Western Australia to reveal full extent of child abuse

The horrific crimes of paedophile priest, Denis McAlinden, are being investigated in regional Western Australia by lawyers committed to revealing the full extent of his abuse of young children.

Indonesians jailed for people-smuggling offences seek compensation 

More than 50 Indonesian minors who crewed asylum-seeker boats want compensation from the Australian government for being jailed as adults.

The 55 Indonesians have joined a complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission about their treatment while in prison,, and have flagged potential federal court action against the federal government.

Canberra law firm seeking increased damages for abuse victims

A CANBERRA-based legal firm is calling for Bathurst victims who alleged child abuse at the hands of Vincentian priests to come forward with the view of bringing a new case for damages.

'Children jailed as adults' seek justice from Australia

More than 120 Indonesians who say Australia wrongly jailed them as adults - when in fact they were children - have launched a bid for compensation.

The BBC's Indonesia editor Rebecca Henschke visited remote Rote Island to hear how they became caught up in human trafficking.

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