Key published decisions applying Schedule 3, section 10(1)(c) RTI Act
The applicant applied to Queensland Police Service (QPS) for a range of documents relating to suicides at a specific location. The information in issue included QPS job reports and investigation reports which described the circumstances surrounding each incident including, in many cases, the methods and locations used in suicides or attempted suicides and QPS’s response to these incidents.
On external review, QPS submitted that release of the information in issue, and the inevitable reporting of it, would lead to an increase in the number of people who either attempt or complete acts of suicide at the specific location.
The applicant provided submissions and supporting evidence about the benefits of reporting on suicide and suicide related issues. It submitted that it intended to report on the information to campaign in favour of constructing suicide prevention barriers at the specific location. The Information Commissioner acknowledged the applicant’s intention to report on the information in a way that positively impacts on vulnerable people, but also noted it is not possible to place restrictions on the use, dissemination or republication of information released under the RTI Act.
The Information Commissioner found that:
- disclosing the information in issue could reasonably be expected to lead to an increase in the number of people who either attempt or complete acts of suicide at the specific location; and therefore
- the information in issue was exempt information under schedule 3, section 10(1)(c) of the RTI Act.
The applicant sought access to psychiatric reports provided to the Supreme Court in 1997 and 2001. Queensland Health (QH) refused access to the information under section 67(1) of the IP Act and schedule 3, section 10(1)(c) of the RTI Act on the basis that disclosure could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of other persons.
QH submitted that, based on clinical advice, disclosure of the information to the applicant could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of others.
The applicant submitted that he posed no threat to the safety of others because: 
- he was 62 years old
- the relevant psychiatrists no longer worked at the facility where he resided at the time of external review; and
- allegations that he had previously made threats against the safety of others were lies.
In determining the application of schedule 3, section 10(1)(c) of the RTI Act the Information Commissioner considered information contained in a decision of the Supreme Court in 2005, including:
- the applicant's history of violence and criminal activity, including 'going armed in public in such a manner as to cause fear'
- the fact that the applicant had been the subject of a forensic order since August 1997 which resulted in his detention as an inpatient of a high security mental health unit
- the applicant's mental health history, including suffering from grandiose and persecutory delusions, psychotic rage and paranoid schizophrenia and resisting all attempts at treatment; and
- the applicant's attempted assault against a female nurse.
The Information Commissioner considered the above information was relevant to the applicant's current state of mind, after considering the applicant’s submissions to the OIC (in which he indicated that he was the subject of a conspiracy) and third party consultations undertaken by QH.
The Information Commissioner was satisfied that there were real and substantial grounds to expect that disclosure of the information could endanger the lives and physical safety of others. Accordingly, the information was exempt information under schedule 3, section 10(1)(c) of the RTI Act.
Last updated: May 20, 2013