“As to organised crime, there is abundant evidence that the CJC has been highly successful in that area, particularly in its efforts through the Joint Organised Crime Taskforce. Over less than seven years…. the CJC has recommended 1,127 charges, and dealt with $3 million as proceeds of organised crime”
--- Chairperson Frank Clair.
Continuing his tenure as CJC Chairperson, Frank Clair highlighted that independent experts continued to “bestow high praise on the work done by the CJC’s Research and Coordination Division,” and that the value of independent reliable criminal justice research “cannot be overestimated”. The CJC was represented on the Overview Committee for the QPS review of the police response to child sexual assault (Project Horizon). A CJC officer assisted in researching and drafting the report.
Some of the significant CJC matters in 1996-97 included:
- Beginning an evaluation of Community Consultative Committees which were first introduced in Queensland after 1989, and represented a more community-oriented style of policing
- Initiating the Carter Inquiry to continue investigations into police involvement in the drug trade
- Being involved in 42 operations (including the Carter Inquiry) and 52 misconduct investigations
- Completing the first phase of a report examining the nexus between organised crime and corruption/official misconduct
- The Witness Protection Division conducting 152 successful relocations
- Receiving 90 new requests for use of the Whistleblower Support Program
- Compiling three briefs of evidence from three operations which comprised of 98 criminal charges and
- Producing 85 significant tactical and strategic intelligence reports.
The 2673 complaints received by the CJC in 1996-97 represented the highest ever intake of complaints in one year since the agency began, suggesting strong public confidence in its dealings with corruption, misconduct and other impropriety.
Public sector investigations in that time involved allegations of corruption arising out of the awarding of contracts by a senior officer in the Department of Education to an external supplier, release of confidential information to a financial company by a former employee of The Public Trustee and improper use of Council property by employees who were using resources and labour for their own business activities.
The Carter Inquiry made significant progress in exposing pockets of corruption within the QPS and highlighted the need for a pro-active and systematic service-wide approach to combating corruption and raising ethical standards. The CJC obtained approval to use 20 listening devices in that year, 17 of which were used in misconduct investigations, mainly in relation to this inquiry.The CJC published a major Report on Police Watchhouses detailing recommendations to improve conditions and services in these facilities. Data collected from this report was used to prepare a briefing paper on prisoners charged with drunkenness at the Brisbane Watchhouse. This paper was used to assist a submission by the Catholic Prison Ministry to the Minister for Families, Youth and Community Care.
As a result, the Minister for Health and the Director-General of the Health Department outlined new initiatives including a funding injection of $240,000 for a pilot project to provide nursing services to watchhouses.
In 1996-97, a budget reduction of $2.7 million resulting from the Commission of Inquiry into the Effectiveness of the Criminal Justice Commission (the Connolly-Ryan Inquiry) led to the reduction of 42 CJC staff.
Spotlight on Operation Shield: Police involvement in drugs
In 1996-97 there were substantial drug seizures as a result of the CJC’s focus on the corrupt involvement of police in the drug trade.
In a particular case that commenced in September 1995, the CJC received a number of complaints from police and civilians about a serving officer’s involvement in using and selling dangerous drugs.
CJC investigators searched the officer’s premises and found a quantity of dangerous drugs, three concealable firearms, and several stolen credit cards.
As a result of a subsequent complaint, police again searched the officer’s premises and found dangerous drugs, a number of restricted weapons and other items suspected of being unlawfully obtained.
Upon receiving further information, police again searched the officer’s premises. Cannabis, cannabis seeds, a small pipe, animal steroids and a needle stick container with about 200 used syringes were found. The officer was convicted and fined, and then dismissed from the QPS.
To find out more, read the Annual Report 1996-97.