Indigenous man faces High Court seeking compensation for immigration detention

Indigenous man asks High Court for compensation for immigration detention

An Aboriginal man is taking his claim to the High Court after being held in immigration detention for 14 months.

In 2020, the High Court determined that Indigenous Australians could not be “aliens” under the Constitution.

As such, Brendan Thoms asks the Court for compensation for the 14 months he was in detention.

The Gunggari man claims the detention was unlawful, as outlined in the High Court’s decision.

Aboriginal people not ‘aliens’

Brendan Thoms, who went into immigration detention despite being indigenous AustralianMr Thoms was born in New Zealand and came to Australian when he was two months old. The now 33 year old went  into immigration detention at the end of a jail sentence in 2018. Non-citizens that have a criminal conviction face deportation.

However, he has recognition as a native title holder, biological descendant and member of the Gunggari people. These three qualifications are the benchmark for recognition of Indigenous status.

The majority of the High Court bench found that if a person met the tripartite test, even though they are born overseas, they are not subject to migration laws.

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Sarah Gore
Sarah is a civil solicitor who primarily practices in defamation, intentional torts against police, privacy and harassment.

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