Australian government and G4S settle lawsuit by staffer in Manus Island riots

Dozens of witnesses were due to give evidence about 2014 riots which security officer Grant Potter says left him with severe psychological injuries

The Australian government and security company G4S have settled a lawsuit brought against them by a security officer who claimed he was left with severe psychological injuries after riots at the Manus Island detention facility in 2014 which left one person dead and 77 people injured.

Former Manus Island security officer Grant Potter alleged the Australian government and his employer G4S, contracted by the government to provide security to the detention facility, failed to provide him and other security staff with safety equipment, training and support in the lead-up to the riots.

This was despite escalating tensions at the time due to the Australian government’s strict immigration policy, and provocation of the detainees by Papua New Guinea locals, the court heard.

When the three days of rioting broke out on 16 February 2014, a 23-year-old Iranian asylum seeker, Reza Barati, was killed after suffering severe head trauma in the violent clashes.

The court heard on Monday that Potter was the one who drove him to hospital, but Barati had died en route.

Potter alleged he had suffered psychological harm and post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the riots, and feared for his life and the lives of detainees being targeted by Papua New Guinean nationals who had breached the perimeter fence.

On Tuesday morning lawyers representing G4S and the Australian government told Justice Cameron Macaulay that a settlement had been reached, the details of which can not be disclosed. As a result, Macauley dismissed the case, in which dozens of witnesses including G4S staff members were due to give evidence.

“I congratulate the parties in reaching a satisfactory conclusion by negotiation in this matter,” Macauley said.


Melissa Davey

The GuardianTramp

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