In 1995 Robin O’Regan QC concluded his term as Chairperson of the CJC. Frank Clair QC was appointed to the position from 1 June 1995, but did not start in the role until January 1996. Lewis Wyvill QC was Acting Chairperson from May to December 1995.
In line with its mission statement —“To promote justice and integrity in Queensland” — during that year the CJC:
- Completed two successful prosecutions of people making false complaints about police misconduct
- Uncovered a scheme involving the corrupt issuing of over 130 false Queensland drivers licences
- Recovered $149,000 in confiscated profits from a corrupt scheme organised by a public servant to favour suppliers of services to a government department and
- Recommended 1112 criminal and disciplinary charges against 292 people as a result of public integrity investigations, with over half related to criminal matters,
- Prepared briefs of evidence against seven people, containing details of 44 charges including trafficking in heroin.
The CJC’s efforts against organised crime saw it involved in 27 operations with the following agencies: the National Crime Authority, Victoria Police, the NSW Crime Commission, the NSW Drug Enforcement Agency and Fraud Enforcement Agency and the QPS. It made a significant contribution to national projects to refine strategies to investigate specific organised crime groups. It also consolidated the Criminal Intelligence Database, holding 17,000 discrete pieces of information in relation to organised and major crime in Queensland.
The CJC continued to maintain an active program of engagement with the public sector and the public. Corruption prevention staff conducted three field trips and liaised with 46 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and community groups in metropolitan and regional centres. They assisted 51 organisations with corruption prevention advice. The Whistleblower Support Program assisted 86 whistleblowers and potential whistleblowers as the program provided advice and counselling services to those who risked their professional and personal security to report wrongdoing in the public sector.
While many of the CJC’s activities were not immediately visible to the public, its work had considerable effect in the community. It gave people a way to make complaints about public sector employees and a voice in decisions on law reform issues through its invitations to make submissions. It also provided information on matters of concern to the community through reports and public hearings.
The public hearing into the Basil Stafford Centre investigated allegations of negligence, abuse and assault by staff of the Centre upon its severely and profoundly disabled clients. It had also been alleged that staff were harassed if they complained about the maltreatment of clients.
On the basis of the evidence, it was found that while some staff at the Centre were caring, others were ignorant of and indifferent to their responsibilities, and were unwilling to act decently towards their clients. Some officers had been found to have assaulted or neglected their clients. It found that the instances of client abuse and gross neglect were indicative of a system and an “insidious institutional culture where acts of client abuse or gross neglect would, more probably than not, remain undetected or unreported.”
The major recommendation arising from the hearing was that the Government should close the Centre “as soon as possible”. Before the report could be released, the Government announced that the Centre would close within three to four years.
To find out more, read the Annual Report 1994-95.