The Crime and Corruption Act 2001 and other legislation require the CCC to keep certain information confidential. The CCC has an overriding responsibility to act independently, impartially, fairly and to protect the public interest.
These overriding responsibilities require the CCC to strike a balance between the legislative emphasis on confidentiality and the media’s right to report on matters of public interest, free of unnecessary official restraint or vetting of information.
When balancing confidentiality and accountability, the CCC will consider whether it is appropriate and fair to release information. In particular the CCC will consider:
- whether the CCC is required by legislation to keep certain information confidential
- the risk of prejudicing current or future operational activities
- the rights of complainants, subject officers and other people who may be assisting the CCC with its inquiries confidentiality throughout the process
- possible damage to the reputations of subject officers, complainants and other stakeholders
- the risk of prejudicing potential court proceedings by releasing information.
Where privacy and stakeholder considerations and the protection of operational information take on significance, they must ultimately outweigh the release of information to the public.
In some circumstances the CCC may determine it is appropriate to release information. This may include where the CCC has arrested or charged an individual, where the CCC believes it is in the public interest to release information or where facts have been misrepresented or distorted.
Current complaints and investigations
In general, the CCC will not:
- confirm or deny whether its corruption area has received a complaint or is investigating a matter unless a party to that matter (the complainant, the subject of the complaint or the agency involved) makes it publicly known. If a party to a matter does make it publicly known, the CCC may still not provide information to the media if there is a risk of prejudicing operational activities or where legal obligations require the CCC to maintain confidentiality.
- confirm or deny the existence of any serious or organised crime investigation.
- comment on matters before a court (criminal and civil) or a tribunal.
If the CCC receives a request for information about a completed investigation, it will assess whether information can be released.