Pursuant to resolutions dated 26 November 1993, 10 December 1993 and 10 January 1994, the Honourable D G Stewart was appointed by the CJC to undertake an investigation into allegations of official misconduct involving staff at the Basil Stafford Centre.
The Centre is a residential facility, administered by the Department of Family Services and Aboriginal and Islander Affairs, which provides services to individuals with severe or profound intellectual disabilities.
The Inquiry largely proceeded by way of public hearings. The Inquiry sat on 63 separate days and heard evidence from 70 witnesses. Approximately 6,000 pages of transcript were generated and 430 exhibits were admitted to evidence. Of these, 40 were tendered as confidential exhibits.
The first day's hearing took place on 13 December 1993 at the Misconduct Tribunal hearing room in Adelaide Street, Brisbane. The Inquiry was then adjourned, resuming on 10 January 1994.
Oral submissions were concluded on 19 August 1994 and a final written volume of submissions, of Counsel for the State of Queensland, was received by the Commission on 15 September 1994.
The Inquiry's Terms of Reference (page 9 of the Report)
A copy of the resolution adopted by the Commission, and dated 10 December 1993 (Ex 1) appears herein at Appendix 1. That resolution notes that the Commission received a number of complaints involving the Centre's staff which may constitute official misconduct within the meaning of that term pursuant to the Act. The Commission resolved to conduct an investigation into cases of alleged or suspected official misconduct by persons holding appointments at the Centre, concerning:
- The abuse or gross neglect of clients; and
- The harassment or intimidation of those persons who have complained of or would be likely to complain of the abuse or gross neglect of clients;
for the period of 1 January 1990 to 31 December 1993.
As part of the abovementioned investigation, the Commission also resolved to:
- Consider generally and make recommendations concerning any statutory provision, policy, practice or procedure relevant to the treatment of clients of the Centre or the reporting of treatment of such clients, and any related matters.
By a further resolution (Ex 5) the period under investigation was further extended to include the period from 1 January 1985 to 31 December 1993.
To facilitate matters, the Commission's resolutions will throughout the report be referred to as the three limbs of the Inquiry's 'terms of reference', namely the abuse or gross neglect of clients, the harassment or intimidation of staff, and procedural issues relating to the treatment of clients.