Statement from CCC Chairperson – Alan MacSporran QC

Source: Crime and Corruption Commission – Queensland

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) has conveyed to me that as a result of evidence heard at the committal hearing, and information contained in submissions from the legal representatives of those charged, they considered that there were no longer reasonable prospects of the fraud charges relating to the Logan councillors being successfully prosecuted.

For these reasons, the prosecutor discontinued the prosecutions in the Brisbane Magistrates Court today.  

I said on 26 April 2019 when speaking publicly after the CCC charged the eight individuals with fraud, that the court is the appropriate place to hear the evidence and decide the merits of the allegations investigated by the CCC. It is the role of the independent ODPP to prosecute criminal matters, not the CCC, and for this reason the CCC accepts the decision of the ODPP to discontinue the prosecutions.

The former mayor still faces other criminal offences resulting from CCC investigations. These matters remain before the court. 

The Crime and Corruption Commission is established by law and exists to combat and reduce the incidence of major crime and to continuously improve the integrity of, and to reduce the incidence of corruption in the public sector. This includes the local government sector. When the CCC receives allegations of corruption involving the public sector and elected officials, it assesses these allegations to determine whether an investigation is warranted. Section 33 of the Crime and Corruption Act 2001 outlines the CCC has a function to investigate conduct liable to allow, encourage or cause corrupt conduct, conduct connected with corrupt conduct and whether corrupt conduct may have happened, may be happening or may happen. Conducting investigations into allegations of corruption is a legitimate and lawful activity of the CCC.

It is important to note the law says the CCC has a function to investigate conduct connected with corrupt conduct and to investigate whether corrupt conduct may have happened.

There has been some criticism levelled at the CCC for charging these individuals, and questions raised as to the validity, legitimacy and propriety of the CCC’s investigation. The CCC has at all times acted within the bounds of its powers and jurisdiction when assessing the allegations, when conducting the investigation and when deciding to charge the subject officers.

The complaint came from a public interest disclosure from the then CEO of Logan City Council, who for context had a legal obligation to report allegations of corrupt conduct to the CCC. All public officials of public sector agencies have this obligation under section 38 of the Crime and Corruption Act 2001. The complaint involved elected officials and was serious in nature because it alleged a reprisal had occurred. Allegations of a reprisal by elected officials against a person making a public interest disclosure are without doubt firmly in the CCC’s jurisdiction.  

At the completion of the investigation, lawyers within the CCC reviewed the material gathered to assess whether the elements of a fraud offence had been met. Consistent with all CCC investigations that lead to criminal charges, a police officer seconded to the CCC reviewed the evidence to make an assessment of whether charging was warranted based on the evidence. I also reviewed the material. Consistent with the ODPP’s prosecution guidelines, based on the evidence before the CCC at the time, the CCC took the view that there were reasonable prospects of a conviction and that the charges were in the public interest.

The ODPP considered the briefs of evidence and decided to prosecute these matters, as in their view at that time, there was a prima facie case and reasonable prospect of convictions. There can be no legitimate claim or criticism that the CCC had no jurisdiction to investigate, or that it was misconceived or somehow inappropriate, to charge these individuals.

Like all people charged by law enforcement and investigative agencies with criminal offences, there are stages during the prosecution to test the evidence gathered during an investigation. This is a tenet and foundational principle of the criminal justice system. During the committal hearing in this matter, material came to light resulting in the decision to discontinue the prosecutions.

I note that there have been calls for an inquiry into the conduct of the CCC’s handling of this matter.

The facts are these. The CCC investigates allegations of corrupt conduct but does not prosecute. Once the CCC charged these eight individuals, the briefs of evidence were forwarded to the ODPP in order for them to independently assess the evidence and decide whether or not to prosecute. In these cases, they went ahead with the prosecutions and it was only when the committal proceedings in the Magistrates Court were well advanced that the charges were discontinued. The CCC, as it must, accepts the decision of the independent prosecutor in these matters.

In light of the above, it is difficult to see how it could be reasonably suggested there should be an inquiry into the CCC’s conduct.

The Queensland community expects a strong, independent agency to investigate allegations of corruption. While the CCC accepts the ODPP’s decision to discontinue these prosecutions, it will not deter this agency from investigating serious allegations of corrupt conduct, and where warranted, placing people before the courts.

Alan MacSporran QC

CCC Chairperson

14 April 2021

ENDS

Integrity summit to focus on lobbying and the public sector

Source: Crime and Corruption Commission – Queensland

This is a joint media release from the Queensland Integrity Commissioner, Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission and the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption, South Australia (ICAC SA). 

Representatives from integrity agencies across Australia will put lobbying practices and their influence on the public sector under the microscope at an integrity summit to be held in Brisbane this week.

The meeting is being co-hosted by the Queensland Integrity Commissioner, the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) and the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption, South Australia (ICAC SA). 

The summit will hear from integrity practitioners who are responsible for overseeing or administering legislation pertaining to lobbying government officials.

Dr Nikola Stepanov, the Queensland Integrity Commissioner said the theme for the summit will be ‘Lobbying and the public sector’.

We have collectively chosen that topic as it is currently of particular relevance to all integrity agencies across Australia,” Dr Stepanov said.

CCC Chairperson Alan MacSporran QC said that the summit would also examine what a “best practice standard” might look like in terms of regulation and registration of lobbyists.

“We want to discuss whether current oversight regimes adequately reflect public concerns about the amount of influence lobbyists appear to have on our elected officials,” Mr MacSporran said.  

South Australia’s Independent Commissioner Against Corruption, the Hon. Ann Vanstone QC, emphasised the importance of public trust in government.

“Part of our discussion will focus on what we as integrity agencies can do to ensure that the public can have confidence in the decisions being made on their behalf by elected officials and public servants.”

One of the presenters at the summit will be Profession AJ Brown, leader of the Centre for Governance and Public Policy’s public integrity and anti-corruption research program. 

The summit also aligns with an upcoming review of the functions of the Queensland Integrity Commissioner, which is due to commence in this year.

ENDS

Media contacts:

Queensland Integrity Commission – [email protected]

Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission – [email protected]

ICAC SA – [email protected]

Independent review of the Credit Reporting Code

Source: Australian Attorney General’s Agencies

In April 2021, the Australian Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner will tender for an independent review of the Privacy (Credit Reporting) Code 2014 (the CR Code). This review is an opportunity to explore how the CR Code is operating in practice.

There will be an opportunity for stakeholders interested in the review to contribute to this process.

The successful tenderer will contribute to the review by leading the consultation process, and by assisting the Commissioner to produce a report outlining issues and concerns about the operation of the CR Code. 

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Independent review of the Privacy (Credit Reporting) Code 2014

Source: Australian Attorney General’s Agencies

26 March 2021

In March 2021, the Australian Information and Privacy Commissioner will tender for an independent review of the Privacy (Credit Reporting) Code 2014 (the CR Code). This review is an opportunity to explore how the CR Code is operating in practice.

There will be an opportunity for stakeholders interested in the review to contribute to this process.

The successful tenderer will contribute to the review by leading the consultation process, and by assisting the Commissioner to produce a report outlining issues and concerns about the operation of the CR Code. 

More information

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Warrant issued for Marcus Corboy

Source: State of Victoria Police

Tuesday, 16 March 2021 23:56

Police are appealing for public assistance to help locate Marcus Corboy.

The 46-year-old is wanted on warrant in relation to drug, traffic and bail act offences.

Corboy is described as 175cm tall with a thin build, olive complexion, dark hair and stubble.

He is known to frequent the Yarrawonga and Mulwala areas.

Investigators have released an image of Corboy in the hope that someone may have information on his current whereabouts.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or make a confidential report at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au

Media Unit

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Ferntree Gully intercept uncovers drugs and cash

Source: State of Victoria Police

Tuesday, 16 March 2021 22:41

Police from the Croydon Divisional Tasking Unit have uncovered drugs and cash following a routine intercept in Ferntree Gully last night.

The officers observed a motorbike without registration plates on the Burwood Highway about 11.40pm.

Officers intercepted the rider shortly later and a subsequent search of the rider uncovered drugs and drug paraphernalia.

Police searched the man’s Cockatoo home just before 4.30am this morning which revealed drugs, cash and other drug paraphernalia.

He has been charged with trafficking a commercial quantity of methylamphetamine, trafficking methylamphetamine, possessing methyl amphetamine, negligently dealing with proceeds of crime, dealing property suspected to be proceeds of crime, stating a false name when requested, committing an indictable offence whilst on bail and unlicensed driving.

The 34-year-old has been remanded in custody to appear at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court today, Wednesday 17 March 2021.

Leading Senior Constable Kendra Jackson

Media Unit

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CCTV released following Noble Park assault

Source: State of Victoria Police

Tuesday, 16 March 2021 21:47

Dandenong Crime Investigation Unit detectives are appealing for public assistance following an assault in Noble Park on Monday night.

It is believed an altercation broke out between two males at the intersection of Douglas Street and Frank Street just before midnight.

The victim was assaulted and rendered unconscious by an unknown male before his wallet and phone were stolen.

The offender then fled the scene prior to police arrival.

The victim, a 32-year-old Dandenong man, was later transported to hospital with serious upper body injuries.

It is understood the victim and the offender had met for the first time on the night of the incident.

Investigators have released CCTV footage and still images of a man they believe could assist them with their enquiries.

The man is perceived to be in his 20’s, with dark hair and a moustache.

At the time he was wearing a bright orange beanie and a black jumper with a white logo on the front.

Anyone who recognises this man or who witnessed the assault is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or file a confidential report online at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au

Liz Mellino

Media Advisor

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Teen charged following Glenroy attempted armed robbery

Source: State of Victoria Police

Tuesday, 16 March 2021 18:07

Moonee Valley Crime Investigation Unit detectives have charged a 17-year-old youth following an attempted armed robbery in Glenroy last night.

Police will allege the Meadow Heights teen threatened a Pascoe Vale Road service station employee and made demands for cigarettes about 10.10pm.

The staff member called Triple Zero (000) and the youth fled on foot.

Officers quickly arrived on scene and began searching for the surrounding area.

A youth was spotted walking along Tanderrum Way in Broadmeadows and arrested.

Investigators charged the teenager with attempted armed robbery, make threats to kill, carry offensive weapon (hammer) and commit indictable offence while on bail.

He was remanded to appear a children’s court at a later date.

The staff member was not physically injured during the incident.

Leonie Johnson

Media Advisor

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Witness appeal following Boronia house fire

Source: State of Victoria Police

Tuesday, 16 March 2021 16:27

Police are appealing for witnesses and dash cam footage following a suspicious house fire in Boronia last night.

Emergency services were called to the blaze on Scoresby Road shortly after 11.30pm.

The unoccupied home sustained significant damage during the fire.

A crime scene guard is in place and an arson chemist will attend this morning to ascertain the cause of the fire.

Detectives are treating the fire as suspicious and urge any witnesses or anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential report online at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au

Leonie Johnson

Media Advisor

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Search for missing Burwood teen Sarah

Source: State of Victoria Police

Tuesday, 16 March 2021 16:02

Police are appealing for public assistance to help locate missing teenager Sarah.

The 16-year-old was last seen leaving her Burwood address to attend Warrandyte High School about 7am yesterday.

Police and family have concerns for her welfare due to a medical condition and her disappearance is out of character.

Investigators have released an image of Sarah in the hope someone can provide information on her current whereabouts.

Sarah is described as being about 163cm tall, with a slim build, freckles and long blonde hair.

She was last seen wearing her high school uniform which consists of a black jumper, blue, red and white checked dress, white socks, black shoes and carrying her backpack which is beige with gold stars.

Anyone who sees Sarah is urged to contact Box Hill Police Station on 8892 3200.

Leonie Johnson

Media Advisor

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