Stolen Aboriginal man wins payout
An Aboriginal man taken from his family as a baby has been awarded compensation in a landmark case in Australia.
Bruce Trevorrow is the first member of Australia's "stolen generation" of Aborigines to win compensation. The Supreme Court of South Australia found he had been falsely imprisoned and treated unlawfully, when he was taken from his family in 1958. In a judgement that took 18 months to deliver, Justice Thomas Gray awarded him A$525,000 (£220,000, $447,000). Thousands of Aboriginal children were handed over to white families under Australian government assimilation policies from 1915 to 1969.
In his judgement, Justice Gray established for the first time that taking a child from their family in such circumstances was wrongful imprisonment and a breach of the state's duty of care. In December 1957, Mr Trevorrow was taken to hospital with stomach pains. When he recovered he was put into foster care with a white family without his parents' permission. He did not see his family for another 10 years, despite his mother writing to authorities to ask where her son was.
Mr Trevorrow, 50, argued in court that because of this action he had suffered loss of identity, depression, alcoholism and erratic employment. A spokesman for South Australia's attorney-general said the government would seek legal advice before deciding whether to appeal against the ruling. Outside court, Mr Trevorrow said it was not possible to put a dollar value on the pain he had endured. "I thought that we would never get there," he said. "But the day's come when I've got the peace of mind to start my life."
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