“The contribution of our Crime area is not perhaps as widely recognised as it should be. It plays an important role in responding to issues that are of vital concern to Queenslanders; the encroaching of crime into our communities, the presence of illicit drugs, and the safety of children.”
The Honourable Martin Moynihan took up the position of Chairperson of the CMC on 8 February 2010, after Mr Robert Needham completed a five-year term on 31 December 2009. The CMC’s operating revenue at that time was $45.784m, and the CMC employed 319 people.
Notably, the most complex crime investigation ever undertaken by the CMC, which took place in 2009-10, led to the dismantling of several drug networks, the arrest of 63 people on 291 charges and the restraint of assets worth over $7 million.
Further highlights of the CMC during 2009-10 included:
- Receiving 4,665 complaints containing over 11,000 allegations – a 17 per cent increase compared with 2008–09, and the largest number received since the establishment of the CMC
- Finalising 63 investigations
- From its organised crime operations, charging 101 persons with 455 offences resulting from investigations commencing either in 2009–10 or in previous years
- Seizing drugs with an estimated street value of $4.5 million
- Conducting investigative hearings over 162 days in Brisbane, Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Yeppoon, Maroochydore and Proserpine to obtain evidence in 39 serious crime investigations.
- The CMC’s review of the QPS Palm Island Review was tabled in Parliament on 17 June 2010
- Commencing a complex misconduct investigation — Operation Tesco — into allegations of police misconduct on the Gold Coast, where the CMC was assisted by senior QPS investigators
- Completing 14 research, prevention and intelligence projects
In 2009-10, the CMC passed the significant milestone of $100 million in assets restrained since civil confiscation legislation commenced in 2002. The CMC’s jurisdiction was also increased, gaining oversight over 12 government-owned corporations employing 11,000 staff state-wide.
At that time, the CMC enhanced and upgraded its technical electronic surveillance and forensic computing capability, in addition to enhancing the technical capabilities of paedophilia investigators through facilitation of training in the use of covert investigative software.
Additionally, with the assistance of QPS child protection investigation units, the CMC continued to investigate allegations of systematic sexual abuse of children by a paedophile network in North Queensland over a 10-year period.
The CMC’s largest and most complex crime investigation to date
Drug distribution networks in Melbourne, Sydney and North Queensland linked to a syndicate of family members in South-East Queensland were identified in the largest and most complex crime investigation undertaken by the CMC at that time.
The covert investigation was commenced by the CMC in April 2009, and was supported through joint arrangements with police drug squads in Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales as well as the QPS Hydra Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Unit.
The evidence gathered led to the charging of 63 people with more than 291 charges, including 43 charges of trafficking in various dangerous drug types. Syndicates investigated during the operation were found to use couriers to move drugs and cash along the east coast of Australia. Drugs trafficked included methamphetamine (ice), MDMA (ecstasy), GHB (fantasy), cannabis, cocaine and steroids.
Assets seized or restrained as a result of the investigation totalled more than $7 million Australia-wide, including the cash seizure of $1.123 million.
Drugs with an estimated street value of $3.354 million were seized or covertly recorded. The CMC’s coercive hearings power contributed to the success of this operation.
Misconduct in public agencies
Legislative amendments that took effect from late 2009 strengthened the CMC’s role in relation to misconduct in public agencies.
In addition to including a new offence of misconduct in relation to public office, the amendments enabled the CMC to lay charges for official misconduct against police and public service officers whose employment in the public sector had ended.
CMC review of the QPS Palm Island Review
The CMC’s review of the QPS Palm Island Review was tabled in Parliament on 17 June 2010, and detailed the CMC’s comprehensive review of the QPS internal investigation of the death in custody of Mulrunji Doomadgee on Palm Island in 2004.
The CMC identified:
• that both the initial QPS investigation and the subsequent internal investigation were seriously flawed, and recommended that the QPS consider disciplinary action against the police officers involved,
• problematic aspects of police culture and
• reinforced the need for thoroughness and impartiality by police, particularly when investigating their own officers.
Allegations relating to a former ministerial adviser
In 2009-10, the CMC investigated allegations Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) in 2009 improperly paid $200,000 to the University of Queensland (UQ) Rugby Club from a $4.2 million Queensland Government grant that was originally intended for the redevelopment of the QRU’s facilities at Ballymore.
Documentation provided to the CMC indicated that the $200,000 from the original grant had been paid to the UQ Rugby Club on the advice of an adviser to the Minister who had carriage of the grants program. At that time, the adviser was also a member of the UQ Rugby Club.
The CMC’s investigations, which included conducting public hearings, identified a number of issues about the general role of ministerial advisers and their interactions with public servants. In late 2009, the CMC called for public submissions on the broader role of ministerial advisers and their interaction with the public service. The CMC indicated a public report would be published following this investigation.
For more information on the CMC’s work during 2009-10, view the Annual Report here.