The Crime and Corruption Act and other legislation has given the CCC investigative powers that are not available to the police or any other government agency in conducting an investigation. These include powers to conduct coercive hearings and to hold public inquiries.
The CCC is the only Queensland law enforcement agency with the power to conduct coercive hearings that require witnesses to attend hearings and give evidence.
Coercive hearings enable investigators to override the right to silence and the privilege against self-incrimination. This allows them to secure otherwise unobtainable evidence, including intelligence regarding activity by criminal organisations. The power to require a person to produce records or other items is also used extensively in corruption investigations, financial investigations into organised crime and money laundering, and confiscation investigations.
The CCC uses its coercive hearings power, not only in its own investigations, but also when police request assistance with serious crime investigations that cannot be advanced using traditional policing powers.
Power to conduct a public inquiry
Complaints or issues brought to our attention sometimes involve wide-ranging allegations that have the potential to reduce public confidence in fundamental systems of public administration and government.
In such cases, the CCC can conduct a public inquiry. This allows a wider gathering of evidence and information on which to base findings and recommendations than can be achieved in a normal investigation. It also allows the public to be involved in reform processes (via a call for public submissions).
Limits of our powers
The CCC is not a court. Even when it investigates a matter, it cannot determine guilt or discipline anyone. In the context of a crime investigation, the CCC can have people arrested, charged and prosecuted. As a result of a corruption investigation, it can refer matters to the Director of Public Prosecutions with a view to criminal prosecution, to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal to consider action warranted, or to a CEO to consider disciplinary action.
See also: Information for witnesses