Monday, 13 October 2014 - 13:30
Boat stand-off case in Australian High Court
A month-long stand-off on the high seas involving the detention of 157 asylum seekers on a Customs boat will be examined in the High Court.
The case to determine the federal government’s power to remove asylum seekers from Australia’s contiguous zone, just outside territorial waters, and send them to other countries will come before the full bench in Canberra tomorrow.
The matter centres on just one of the 157, a Tamil Sri Lankan asylum seeker.
The group set off from India on June 13th and authorities intercepted their boat 16 days later, 16 nautical miles off Christmas Island.
It is the only official boat arrival to Australia this year.
The asylum seekers spent almost a month detained on the Customs vessel Ocean Protector, before being sent to the Curtin detention centre in Western Australia.
Lawyers for the Tamil asylum seeker are seeking damages for unlawful detention and will argue maritime power laws were breached.
The asylum seekers are now in detention on Nauru.
The government’s legal team will insist the detention at sea was legal and the plan to send them to India did not breach international law.