The much-awaited report by the Honourable Tony Fitzgerald AC QC and the Honourable Alan Wilson QC of the Commission of Inquiry relating to the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) has just been released.
In our opinion, the most significant recommendation requires the Crime and Corruption Commission to seek the opinion of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) concerning whether a charge may properly be brought before laying the charge. Gadens welcomes this important recommendation.
The Inquiry did not seek to extend its recommendations outside the Terms of Reference, which set out three principal matters for consideration: the use of seconded police officers by the CCC, the prosecution of serious crime and corruption in the context of CCC investigations, and section 49 of the Crime and Corruption Act 2001 (Qld). The Inquiry also highlighted (but did not resolve) additional issues for government consideration that fell outside the Terms of Reference including the definition of ‘corrupt conduct’, the CCC’s role in public interest disclosures, and the breadth and focus of the CCC’s functions.
While we will be diving into the detail of the 225-page report further in the coming weeks, the Inquiry sets out 32 – largely operational and managerial – recommendations, which include that the:
- Memorandum of Understanding between the CCC and Queensland Police Service (QPS) be amended to reflect the need for the CCC to have flexibility over the CCC Police Group and seconded police officers;
- CCC’s organisational culture be considered as part of the planned external review of the CCC;
- Corruption Division of the CCC transition to predominantly civilianised model and that the need for each seconded police officer be reviewed at the conclusion of each secondment period;
- CCC create a dedicated position to coordinate and implement a training strategy to ensure investigators assigned to corruption matters are adequately and appropriately trained;
- Corruption Strategy, Prevention and Legal unit be split into two separate units – Corruption Legal, and Corruption Strategy and Prevention;
- CCC establish an executive director-level governance group to oversee corruption investigations;
- CCC review and improve operational policies and create a dedicated position for a Policy and Procedure Officer to coordinate and implement the review and improvements;
- CCC work with the ODPP to develop a process for conducting post-prosecution reviews;
- Crime and Corruption Act 2001 (Qld) be amended to require the CCC to seek the opinion of the ODPP concerning whether a charge ought to be brought prior to charges being laid by seconded police officers during corruption investigations;
- CCC and the ODPP develop a Memorandum of Understanding outlining the practices and procedures for the referral of matters and the provision of advice; and
- CCC report regularly to the Minister about the implementation of the recommendations.
Media reports suggest that both the CCC and the government have committed to implementation of the recommendations.