“I am confident that this report accurately reflects the year’s work of an organisation vital to the interests of all Queenslanders. The Commission remains committed to the task of safeguarding the integrity of public administration, improving the criminal justice system, providing an effective witness protection program, and fighting organised and major crime.”
--- Chairperson Robin O’Regan, QC
This period saw the retirement of Sir Max Bingham QC, the Foundation Chairperson of the Commission. Sir Max’s term ended on 30 November 1992, and Mr Robin O’Regan QC commenced duties on 1 December 1992.
During that year the Criminal Justice Act 1989 was being reviewed. The CJC had raised issues that it was being seriously hampered by some aspects of the Act, and that it was not able to act as effectively as it wished to do. The Commission also moved from being within the portfolio of the Premier to that of the Minister for Justice and Attorney-General.
The CJC, in cooperation with the Queensland Police Service, established the Joint Organised Crime Task Force (JOCTF). The JOCTF sought to expose entire criminal enterprises through intelligence gathering and investigations rather than simply pursue individuals, and met regularly with other crime-fighting agencies.
The JOCTF participated in a national investigation coordinated by the National Crime Authority (NCA), which led to the arrest of Bruno “The Fox” Romeo, one of Australia’s most wanted men, who allegedly masterminded a massive cannabis cultivation operation, worth tens of millions of dollars, on outback properties.
The Multi-disciplinary Teams (MDTs), which investigated organised and major crime and the more complex allegations of official misconduct, carried out 302 investigations. They were supported by the Financial Analysts Group, who had gained a reputation as leading Australia in forensic financial analysis. The CJC’s Financial and Intelligence Analysts were linked to the new database of the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), giving them vital access to reports on transfers of money in and out of the country through the banking system and making it easier to detect organised criminal activity.
The Proceeds of Crime (POC) Team worked closely with the MDTs and with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions in assets forfeiture cases. In two cases, the POC team not only took action to confiscate assets derived from criminal activity investigated by the MDTs, but also obtained financial evidence to support charges resulting from those investigations by using money tracing and other investigative techniques.
One matter was an operation conducted by the CJC with the QPS into large-scale unlawful bookmaking and money laundering. Four people were convicted of SP bookmaking, two of whom were also convicted of money laundering. The money laundering were the first convictions of their kind in Australia.
In order to streamline the complaints process, the CJC and QPS established a system to resolve minor complaints using informal resolution techniques. That year the Complaints Section had received 2183 complaints, comprising 4378 allegations. It recommended that 364 criminal charges and 305 disciplinary charges be laid and in 38 cases made recommendations for changes to the procedures of the QPS or other government agencies.
A new Corruption Prevention Division was established, designed to assist public sector organisations in establishing systems and processes which minimise the risk of corrupt activity. As educators were also seen to have a key role to play in the fight against corruption, workshops were held for 870 school principals over the year.
“We have the challenge of educating people about the costs of corruption and what they can do to make Queensland a safer and more just State in which to live. With time, and the support of the citizens of Queensland, we can achieve that goal.”
Two public inquiries were held that year and generated wide community interest.
The first was the inquiry into the jury selection process in the trial of Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen, arising from allegations referred to the CJC from the Special Prosecutor’s Office. The CJC engaged a former Supreme Court Judge, the Honourable WJ Carter QC, to supervise the inquiry. Public hearings began in May and concluded in June 1993 after a total of 19 sitting days, with evidence heard from 60 witnesses.The final report of the Inquiry was published in August 1993.
The second inquiry related to the allegations made by Lorrelle Anne Saunders, concerning the circumstances of her being charged with criminal offences in 1982. After the Parliamentary Criminal Justice Committee (PCJC) recommended that the Commission investigate the matter, the CJC engaged a former Supreme Court Judge, the Honourable RH Matthews QC to supervise the inquiry. The final report of the inquiry was published in April 1994.
As well as the reports of its public inquiries, the CJC also published the first two volumes of its comprehensive review of police powers as had been recommended by Fitzgerald.
To find out more about the CJC’s activities in 1992 - 1993 read the Annual Report 1992 - 1993.