“For the second full year of its operation the Commission set its sights on building its reputation for professionalism and performance in the field of criminal intelligence and investigation”.
---Crime Commissioner Tim Carmody SC
QCC General Counsel, John Callanan, was appointed Assistant Crime Commissioner in June 2000 to enhance the Commission’s ability to efficiently utilise its hearings power. The Assistant Crime Commissioner (ACC) could preside at hearings. Until the ACC’s appointment, all hearings were conducted by the Commissioner.
The QCC continued to discharge its criminal paedophilia function in a way that gave practical expression to the intent of the legislation by adopting a proactive, research-based and intelligence-driven approach to targeting paedophiles. The QCC also indicated that in addition to promoting inter-agency cooperation, it would work to place increasing emphasis on financial aspects of crime by expanding the existing structure and membership of its financial investigations team to accommodate a dedicated money laundering and economic crime-fighting function.
In 1999-2000, the QCC’s major achievements included:
- Restraining $2.28 million worth of assets.
- Holding 68 hearings and having 99 individual witnesses attend the hearings.
- Contributing resources to 31 operations (15 organised crime, seven major crime, nine criminal paedophilia) compared to 26 the previous year.
- Contributing 162 source documents to the Australian Criminal Intelligence Database (ACID) consisting of intelligence and information reports, offender profiles and post operational assessments.
- Continuing Project Cassius – a strategic assessment of the nature and extent of networked or organised child sex offending in Queensland. This involved consultation with law enforcement and correctional officers in Queensland.
- Commencing Project Coffee, a proactive investigation and tactical intelligence initiative to identify and target suspected child sex offenders who use the Internet for their illegal activities. At that time, Project Coffee had identified four people in relation to child pornography images while 18 reports with information on potential offenders had been disseminated to law enforcement throughout Australia and overseas.
In 1999-2000, the organised crime flagship operation was Project Ramson which commenced on the completion of Project Krystal. It was designed to continually monitor the organised crime environment in Queensland. A major outcome of Project Ramson was the reassessment of the risk posed by various illicit drug markets.
Importantly, the 1999-2000 period revealed a shift in the class of drugs that represented the highest threat to the Queensland community.
In June 1999, Project Krystal had reported that the heroin market represented the highest risk to the community. However, in the new assessment, the QCC stated that “the illicit amphetamine industry has significant potential to become an even more serious problem for law enforcement agencies, the public health system and other stakeholders in the future”.
As part of the QCC’s core function to investigate major and organised crime and paedophilia, 963 charges were preferred during 1999-2000. This increased from the 344 charges the previous year.
Investigating child sex offences: What could the QCC do that the QPS could not?
The QPS always had jurisdiction to investigate child sex offences in Queensland. The QPS units dedicated to this predominantly conducted reactive investigations into child sex offending, and demands placed on them by the increase in complaints of child sex abuse led to fewer resources devoted to a proactive approach.
In contrast, the QCC was equipped with special powers and used those powers during proactive investigations of criminal paedophilia, especially networked and organised offending. The QCC also had broader jurisdiction than the QPS in some respects. For example, the QCC’s charter extended to conducting investigations in relation to child sex offences where the offender, or the victim, was ordinarily a resident in Queensland, regardless of where the offence took place. The QPS provided fully resourced police task forces to assist with QCC investigations.
Task Force Axis
Task Force Axis was established by the QCC and the QPS in January 1999 to extend investigations into tactical information received by Project Axis and to proactively target suspected extra-familial child sex offenders.
As a result of investigations between May 1998 and May 2000, the QCC in partnership with the QPS, participated in 13 proactive investigations under the criminal paedophilia reference. As a result of these investigations, 21 individuals were charged with approximately 600 offences.
As part of Project Axis, a research project, conducted by Dr Stephen Smallbone and Dr Richard Wortley, involved a descriptive study of 323 males convicted in Queensland of child sex offences to gather and analyse data on convicted child sex offenders.
Two other significant pieces of work commenced in 1999-2000:
To find out more, read the QCC Annual Report 1999-00.