Australian lawyers implicate government in PNG rape case

11:21 am on 29 July 2015

The Australian Lawyers Alliance says the Australian Government may be involved in a cover up after three guards suspected of rape left Papua New Guinea's Manus Island.

PNG Police said a local woman who worked at the asylum seeker detention centre was allegedly assaulted by three ex-patriate guards two weeks ago, but the guards were flown out of the country before an inquiry was completed.

A spokesperson for the Australian Lawyers Alliance, Greg Barns, said Australia's immigration department needed to reveal its role in the affair and whether it allowed the guards to return to Australia before an investigation could be carried out.

Mr Barns said if the reports were substantiated, then it contradicted previous claims by Canberra that the detention centres were under the jurisdiction of PNG authorities.

He said that if Australian government officials were involved in removing the guards from a potential criminal investigation then they may be criminally liable for obstructing an investigation.

Radio New Zealand International has asked the Australian immigration department for comment.

Australian detention centre on Manus Island, PNG

Australian detention centre on Manus Island. Photo: REFUGEE ACTION COALITION / AFP