Kelvin Ronald Condren, convicted of the murder of Patricia Carlton in August 1984, complained that prior to taking part in the making of the Record of Interview he had been subjected to assault and intimidation by the police. Additionally, he complained that the Record of Interview essentially had been fabricated by the police. The Court of Criminal Appeal set aside Mr Condren's conviction and ordered a retrial. Subsequently, on the recommendation of the Director of Prosecutions, the charge of murder against Mr Condren was withdrawn in the Supreme Court. Mr Condren was freed on July 27, 1990.
The Criminal Justice Commission (CJC) considered the allegations made against the police by Mr Condren and the other complainants. On 9 April 1992, the Commission resolved to conduct public hearings before the Chairman of the Commission, Sir Max Bingham QC, into the allegations which had been made by Mr Condren and others.
The hearings were scheduled for two weeks beginning 13 April 1992. They were not completed within that period and were eventually adjourned for a further four hearing days in May. During the hearing, 21 witnesses appeared before the Commission and 81 exhibits were tendered.
The first step in the Commission's investigation of the complaints of Mr Condren and others was to obtain all relevant material from the Queensland Police Service, the Office of the Director of Prosecutions, the Office of the Solicitor-General, and the Aboriginal Legal Service. Transcripts and records were obtained of all previous court proceedings in original and appeal jurisdictions.
Within the Commission, an investigative team headed by a lawyer handled the preparatory work for the hearing. During the process of preparing the Terms of Reference and the witness list, the Commission consulted solicitors acting for the complainants and solicitors acting for the police officers the subjects of the allegations. Solicitors for the complainants suggested additions to both the Terms of Reference and the witness list, and some witnesses were added as a result of these submissions.
Prior to the commencement of the hearing, the Commission briefed senior and junior counsel, who assessed the material and assisted the Commission by settling draft Terms of Reference and preparing a list of witnesses who could give evidence relevant to the allegations of police misconduct.
The Commission attempted, from its earliest correspondence with the parties, to make it clear that the proposed hearing would not consider any issues outside the scope of the allegations of police misconduct.
On 9 April 1992, the Commission resolved to hold public hearings before the Chairman of the Commission, Sir Max Bingham QC, into the allegations which had been made by Mr Condren and others.
The Terms of Reference which the Commission resolved were as follows:
(a) An allegation by Kelvin Ronald Condren that police investigating the allegation of murder against him brought into existence a false document, namely a Record of Interview, which was used in evidence against him during his trial, and that police subjected him to intimidation and assault in order to obtain the alleged confession and his signature on the document.
(b) An allegation by Kelvin Ronald Condren that the police investigation of the murder of Patricia Carlton was not conducted in a fair, adequate or efficient manner.
(c) An allegation by Louise Elizabeth Brown and Stephen Wayne McNamee that statements taken from them by police during the investigation of the murder of Patricia Rose Carlton were taken under circumstances of duress, and that the statements were almost entirely false and were manufactured by police.
(d) An allegation by Noreen Rose Jumbo that the statement supplied by her to police investigating the murder of Patricia Rose Carlton was inaccurate, and was signed by her because of intimidation by police.
(e) Whether any member of the Police Service has been guilty of misconduct or neglect or violation of duty in relation to the matters referred to in paragraphs (a) to (d).
In view of the Commission's responsibility to provide the Commissioner of the Police Service with policy directives based on research and investigation, a sixth Term of Reference was included to consider generally the issue of QPS policy directives, statutory provisions, and case law governing the taking of statements from witnesses and the questioning of suspects:
(f) A consideration generally of any policy directives, statutory provisions or relevant case law in relation to police treatment of Aborigines in custody, with respect to both the situation as it existed in 1983, and the present situation.
Written submissions in this matter were requested by 31 December 1992. Submissions marked "Confidential" will be treated as such and not made available for public inspection. All other submissions received will be copied and made available for public viewing in the Commission's Llbrary at 557 Coronation Drive, Toowong