A former Manus Island security guard has reached a settlement with the Commonwealth and security firm G4S after she launched legal action in Victoria’s Supreme Court.
Chandra Osborne was seeking compensation for loss of earnings, claiming the federal government and G4S failed to provide a safe workplace when riots took hold of the detention centre in February 2014.
Iranian asylum seeker Reza Berati died and 77 others were injured in the three days of riots.
A trial started in Victoria’s Supreme Court earlier this month, with Ms Osborne giving evidence that she feared for her life when violence escalated between the refugees and guards.
Get Crikey FREE to your inbox every weekday morning with the Crikey Worm.
The court was told Ms Osborne still had flashbacks and nightmares, and could not work due to mental health issues stemming from the ordeal.
The trial was expected to run for some weeks but the parties reached a settlement after five days, the law firm representing Ms Osborne said.
The terms of the settlement have not been disclosed.
“The settlement … is an acknowledgement of the catastrophic and negligent failures by the commonwealth government and security firm G4S,” Arnold Thomas and Becker partner Kim Price told AAP in a statement on Tuesday.
“This brings the total settled cases (from former Manus Island guards) to nine, and with 12 claims still before the courts, the total compensation claimed has been tens of millions.
“We hope that the outcomes from this trial facilitates settlements for the other 12 individuals who are still awaiting trial.”
Ms Osborne said the settlement allowed her to put the experience behind her.
“The trial has brought back flashbacks, memories and heightened my panic attacks,” she told AAP in a statement.
“I’m definitely disappointed that it came to the point that I needed to give evidence.
“At the same time, it means that the public now know more about what happened and that it was all wrong.”
The Department of Home Affairs told AAP it was aware the matter was “dismissed by consent” and had no further comment.
G4S has also been contacted for comment.
During the trial, both the Commonwealth and G4S contested Ms Osborne’s allegations.
Meanwhile, the parents of Reza Berati are also seeking compensation from the federal government over their son’s death.
A senate inquiry into the 2014 riots recommended the Commonwealth provide compensation to Ita Torab Berati and Farideh Baralak, but Maurice Blackburn principal lawyer Jennifer Kanis said that has not happened.
“It’s been eight years since his death, but his parents feel the pain of his absence every single day,” Ms Kanis said in a statement.
“That pain has been compounded by the protracted legal fight they are being forced to embark upon as a result of the Australian Government and G4S’ refusal to offer any compensation for the loss of their son.”
Mr Berati’s parents have filed the claim in the Victorian Supreme Court.