Bell (as agent for IGY) and Department of Police
Bell (as agent for IGY) and Queensland Police Service
(2002 S0012, 27 June 2003)
The matter in issue in this review related to sexual offences committed by a person for whom the applicant held a power of attorney and acted as agent in making the application (the offender was serving a prison sentence in connection with the offences). Some of the documents in issue were available for purchase by the applicant under the respondent's administrative access scheme. However, the respondent retained a general discretion under that scheme to withhold some personal information. The respondent advised that it would intend deleting segments of information from some documents in issue in this case, including the names of child complainants.
In relation to those documents which the respondent advised could be purchased by the applicant without deletions, Assistant Commissioner Moss was satisfied that the respondent was entitled to refuse access under s.22(b) of the FOI Act. However, having regard to the comments made by the Information Commissioner in JM and Queensland Police Service (1995) 2 QAR 516, AC Moss decided that it was necessary to deal, under the FOI Act, with those documents from which the respondent intended to delete information before giving administrative access to the applicant.
The matter remaining in issue comprised statements of complainants and witnesses, transcripts of interviews, information about the sexual offences committed by the applicant, details of the complainants' relationships with the applicant, and other personal details such as age, address, signature, et cetera. AC Moss was satisfied that the matter in issue concerned the personal affairs of third parties and was prima facie exempt from disclosure to the offender under s.44(1) of the FOI Act, subject to the application of the public interest balancing test. She decided that, on balance, the public interest considerations in favour of disclosure of the matter in issue did not outweigh the strong public interest in favour of protecting the privacy of the child victims and other witnesses, and therefore that the matter was exempt from disclosure under s.44(1) of the FOI Act.