“It has become clear that the overall expectations of the Commission, as well as some of its processes and standards, must now be redeveloped. From the work currently being progressed by the Implementation Panel and the Commission’s own officers, it can be confidently anticipated that the Commission will be in a very different state by the end of the next financial year in the way it focuses on more serious corruption in units of public administration, particularly in its response and throughput times.”
--Acting Chairperson Dr Ken Levy
Dr Ken Levy RFD was appointed Acting Chairperson of the Crime and Misconduct Commission on 22 May 2013 following the resignation of Ross Martin SC.
In 2012-13, a major review of the CMC’s founding legislation was undertaken, along with a Parliamentary Inquiry into the release and destruction of sensitive historical documents.
In March 2013, the CMC’s recordkeeping and governance practices came under scrutiny when it was revealed that some historical records from the Fitzgerald Inquiry were inappropriately accessible to the public, and that others had been incorrectly destroyed.
These events provided an opportunity for the CMC to evaluate its internal processes to build an even stronger culture of corporate accountability.
As a result, the CMC conducted an audit of its recordkeeping systems and initiated a number of projects to address recommendations from the related Parliamentary Inquiry into these matters. The CMC implemented a rigorous program to review its information management functions and deliver targeted training on matters of risk and compliance to its staff.
Given that the very nature of the CMC’s work requires management of complex and sensitive information, the CMC committed to ensuring that the right people with the right qualifications and experience were making decisions across all levels of the organisation.
In April 2013, an Independent Advisory Panel reviewing the Crime and Misconduct Act made a number of recommendations aimed at strengthening the CMC’s major crime and misconduct functions.
The then Attorney-General gave responsibility for managing intersecting recommendations from a number of reviews of the CMC to the Implementation Panel that was progressing outcomes from the reviews of the Crime and Misconduct Act.
The implementation of all accepted recommendations was expected to be finalised in March 2014.
Highlights of the CMC’s work during 2012-13 included:
- The CMC closing down a high-threat heroin distribution network, resulting in 193 charges against 29 persons
- Conducting 201 days of hearings held in support of 28 QPS and CMC major crime investigations, including murders, armed robberies, outlaw motorcycle gang (OMCG) activity and drug-trafficking
- Restraining assets to the value of $17.1m, and forfeiting $16.98m to the State
- Finalising 13 criminal paedophilia investigations, resulting in 744 charges against 13 persons
- Finalising 87 serious official misconduct investigations, resulting in 48 charges against seven people
- Making 116 prevention recommendations to address systemic issues identified by misconduct investigations
- Recovery action on the Morehu-Barlow fraud on Queensland Health which resulted in a $16.690m proceeds of crime order and $11.880m being returned to the State following successful confiscation action.
Four offenders charged with or convicted of Commonwealth aggravated networking offence
In 2012-13, significant court proceeding were finalised for two matters that commenced in 2011–12.
Following CMC investigations and extensive liaison with the Commonwealth Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, two offenders were charged in 2011–12 with a Commonwealth aggravated networking offence for the first time in Queensland.
The offence was introduced in 2010 and carries a maximum penalty of 25 years imprisonment. Both offenders pleaded guilty and received terms of imprisonment of five and six years respectively, while two further offenders were also charged with aggravated networking charges shortly after.
Operation Lightning struck significant heroin network
In 2012-13, the CMC dismantled a major heroin distribution network operating within South-East Queensland. The investigation, codenamed Operation Lightning, also identified members of the network from New South Wales who were responsible for importing heroin.
The 12-month investigation was led by the CMC and was supported by the QPS State Drug Investigation Unit and the New South Wales Police Drug Squad. In total, 29 persons – all members of Balkan crime groups operating in both states – were arrested on 193 charges.
Of those arrested, 17 persons resided in Queensland and eight of those faced drug-trafficking charges and related offences. The operation also led to the seizure of almost two kilograms of heroin, two kilograms of amphetamine and three heroin presses, as well as the recovery of stolen and tainted property to the value of $341,000.
It was believed that, over a period of 10 years, the network transported approximately 30 kilograms of heroin (with an estimated street value of $30M) into Queensland. The investigation also identified a longstanding criminal identity involved in producing and distributing amphetamines.
Operation Warrior continued to place offenders behind bars
Operation Warrior, the CMC’s landmark organised crime investigation which targeted a large-scale organised drug distribution network based on the Gold Coast, continued to yield results with significant court outcomes achieved in 2012-13, despite the Operation having been completed in 2010.
Operation Warrior targets had been sentenced to a cumulative total of more than 100 years imprisonment.
In May 2013, a high-level target of Operation Warrior – a 34-year-old man from Kangaroo Point – was sentenced to 13 years imprisonment, after being found guilty of 14 charges relating to the production and trafficking of dangerous drugs.
The man was first arrested in March 2010, when he was located in possession of methylamphetamine, MDMA tablets, GBL, and more than $47,000 in cash. He was arrested again in August 2010 in possession of more than three kilograms of methylamphetamine.
In July 2012, the principal target of Operation Warrior was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment for illicit drug offences after entering a plea of guilty on a total of 20 charges. They comprised four counts of trafficking in dangerous drugs — cannabis, methylamphetamine, MDMA (“ecstasy”) and GHB (“fantasy”) — and a further 16 drug-related charges, including the supply of dangerous drugs (MDMA and cocaine) and possession of dangerous drugs. The Court of Appeal dismissed the target’s appeal against the sentence.
Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry
In August 2012, retired Justice of the Queensland Court of Appeal John Jerrard QC finalised his examination of matters relating to the conduct of several engineers during the 2010–11 Queensland floods. A matter from the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry was referred to the CMC in 2011-12.
According to Mr Jerrard’s advice, an inherent contradiction existed between the manual’s flood strategy flowchart and a definition of a strategy, as later referred to in the manual. This contradiction provided an explanation for the engineers’ inconsistent statements and descriptions of what they had done. On that basis the CMC was satisfied there was no evidence to suggest the conduct of the engineers amounted to official misconduct and/or a criminal offence.
Suspected official misconduct at the University of Queensland
In 2012-13, the CMC was finalising its activities in relation to a forced offer for entry into the University of Queensland’s 2011 medical program (MBBS). In November 2012, the ODPP advised there would be no criminal charges against any person involved in the making of the forced offer.
The CMC conducted a review of the policy framework and made 49 recommendations to the University of Queensland in relation to the implementation or improvement of relevant policies, procedures and practices in key integrity areas, including complaints management, conflicts of interest, public interest disclosures, gifts and benefits, procurement / contracting, secondary employment, and fraud and corruption control. The university has noted and/or accepted the majority of the recommendations.
A public report into the matter was being finalised and was published in the next reporting period.
For more information on the CMC’s work during 2013-13, view the Annual Report here.