The Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) has this afternoon completed its assessment of the circumstances relating to the withdrawal of a traffic infringement notice involving the wife of the Commissioner of Police. The CCC is satisfied there is no evidence to raise any reasonable suspicion of corrupt conduct or police misconduct. The CCC will therefore take no further action in relation to this matter.
The CCC has independently reviewed correspondence between the Queensland Police Service (QPS) and Mrs Stewart, interviewed the officer who made the decision to withdraw the infringement and inspected records relating to this matter.
Based on the inquiries made by the CCC to inform its assessment, the CCC has determined it is in the public interest to clarify a number of items relating to this matter.
Complaints received about this matter were based on media reporting and complainants did not provide any firsthand knowledge of this matter.
The letter to the QPS
The CCC reviewed correspondence from Mrs Stewart to the QPS. The letter from Mrs Stewart raised reasonable grounds to question the infringement notice. The letter revealed a detailed knowledge of the relevant statutory provisions and procedures relating to the issuing of infringement notices, consistent with Mrs Stewart’s long career as an employee of the Department of Transport and from her earlier career as a police officer.
Decision to withdraw the infringement notice
The CCC is satisfied the decision to withdraw the infringement notice was reasonable and did not involve any corruption or police misconduct. The officer who made the decision wrote to Mrs Stewart advising of the decision to withdraw the infringement notice. In this correspondence, it is clearly articulated on what grounds the decision was made. Relevantly, there was no corroborative evidence that would fulfil the sufficiency of evidence criteria required to form a view that a prosecution has reasonable prospects.
The officer confirmed to the CCC that the issuing officer’s body worn camera was not activated and there were no contemporaneous notes of the matter recorded by the officer who issued the infringement. There was also no other video evidence available. In these circumstances, and after seeking and receiving advice from another officer with prosecution experience, the officer concluded that there was no reasonable prospect of a successful prosecution.
The decision was then made to withdraw the infringement notice.
Relationship between the officers involved and the Commissioner of Police
The CCC did not identify any close personal or professional relationship between the officers involved in this matter and the Commissioner of Police.
The ticket was torn up
The CCC can confirm the ticket was not torn up or simply waived. To the contrary, the CCC found the records relating to this matter were thorough, complete and recorded in accordance with the Public Records Act 2002 and QPS procedures. The completeness of the records enabled a thorough and efficient assessment by the CCC.
Officers on leave
The CCC can confirm officers involved in this matter had applied for leave and it was approved before the date the traffic infringement was issued. The CCC can also confirm the officers were on planned recreation leave, not sick leave. One officer returned from leave to be interviewed by the CCC.
The CCC has previously expressed concerns about complaints being aired publicly before the CCC has had an opportunity to independently assess them. The CCC encourages any person who has allegations of corrupt conduct to bring them to the CCC confidentially.
The CCC is an independent agency combating major crime and reducing corruption for the benefit of the Queensland community.