Stolen Generations compo payout upheld by appeal court

Gavin Lower & Matthew Franklin; 23/3/10  (2 Items)

The only successful compensation case brought by a member of the Stolen Generations has been upheld by South Australia’s highest court, sparking renewed calls for schemes to compensate Aboriginal people taken from their families as children. It is unclear whether the South Australian government will appeal the decision to the High Court or settle other compensation claims by members of the Stolen Generations, because it remains in caretaker mode following Saturday’s state election. The Full Court of the Supreme Court yesterday dismissed an appeal by South Australia against the 2007 judgment that found Bruce Trevorrow, an Aboriginal man from the Coorong region, south of Adelaide, was taken from his parents when he was a baby in 1957.

Trevorrow Case
– On Christmas Day 1957, 13-month-old Bruce Trevorrow was taken from his home in Meningie, southeast of Adelaide, to Royal Adelaide Hospital suffering stomach pains.
– A fortnight later, he was discharged into the care of a Mr and Mrs Evans, who became his foster parents.
– Trevorrow’s parents, Joseph Trevorrow and Thora Karpany, did not know of or consent to the placement.
– Joseph Trevorrow died in 1966 without ever seeing his son again.
– In 1967, Bruce Trevorrow resumed living with his mother.
– In 1998, he commenced action seeking damages for loss of cultural identity, depression, alcoholism, poor health and poor relationships.
– In 2007, judge Tom Gray of the South Australian Supreme Court awarded Trevorrow $775,000 in compensation and interest.
– The SA government appealed.
The Appeal Findings
– SA had no grounds to remove Trevorrow from his parents without their permission.
– SA liable to Trevorrow for wrongdoing in public office.
– SA not liable for wrongful detention or breach of fiduciary duty.
– SA liable to Trevorrow for negligence.
– The assessment of damages stands and the appeal is dismissed.
Ex-gratia payment for family of elder killed by heat in jail van
Nicolas Perpitch; 23/3/10
The family of an Aboriginal elder who died while being transported across the desert in the back of an overheated prison van says an interim ex-gratia payment of $200,000 is overdue but welcome. West Australian Premier Colin Barnett said yesterday the payment would be made to the family of the elder, Mr Ward, to support their day-to-day living expenses. A decision on a full ex-gratia payment would be made “soon”. Mr Ward’s cousin, Daisy Ward, said his wife and siblings had been worried the money might not come. “I am happy,” she said. “Even though it took two years, even though it took so long, it’s good to support his wife and his four kids.”