An immigration officer who tried to persuade Vietnamese boat people to abandon their human rights case was criticised by a judge yesterday for his 'highly dangerous' conduct. Mr Justice Raymond Sears said the actions of the officer, who told one of the asylum-seekers not to trust his lawyers, could even amount to contempt of court. 'He should not have spoken to them. It is highly dangerous if people do that sort of thing. He should not have talked to them at all. It is quite wrong,' the judge said. Peter Graham, for three boat people, complained to the judge about the officer's behaviour. Tong Cong Sau said in a statement read out by Mr Graham that he was 'very surprised' to be visited in prison by the officer and an interpreter less than two weeks before his case was due to be heard. 'They told me that I would be sent back to Vietnam speedily after the hearing. They also said we should not trust our lawyers and that the longer we stayed here the longer our grief and suffering would be.' Mr Tong said he responded by saying he would receive 'more pain and grief' if he returned to Vietnam, where he claims he was persecuted. The conduct of the officer, who was not named, was described by Mr Graham as 'extraordinary and improper'. William Marshall SC, for the Government, said the officer concerned had been completely unconnected with the case and had been responding to a letter signed by the boat people. Mr Tong, 34, detained for 10 months, Nguyen Van Sang, 41, detained for 22 months and Luu The Truong, 32, detained for 10 months, are fighting for the right to be screened for refugee status. They claim they are being unlawfully detained and wish to be released until their status is established. Mr Marshall said the three men had waived their right to be screened by signing a form stating they wished to be returned to Vietnam. They changed their minds just as they were about to be flown back. But Mr Justice Sears called on the Government not to fight the case and to agree to the boat people's request to be screened. 'These cases involve vast sums of public money. Particularly, in these times, judges are vigilant to ensure money is not wasted. Would it not be easier just to screen these three?' he asked. 'It seems to me that justice would be done and money saved if someone would kindly screen these Vietnamese.' Mr Marshall asked for the case to be adjourned so that the Director of Immigration could discuss his suggestion with the Secretary for Security.