Cudmore and Department of Police
Cudmore and Queensland Police Service
(1999 S0031, 29 November 2000)
The applicant sought review of a decision of the QPS to neither confirm nor deny the existence of certain documents under s.35 of the FOI Act. The applicant alleged that the QPS had supplied documents concerning him to the Department of Human Services (DHS) in Victoria on five occasions in late 1997 and early 1998, and that the DHS had used those documents in court proceedings. After it became clear that the applicant knew the general nature of at least some of the documents, the QPS withdrew its reliance upon s.35 of the FOI Act, but claimed that the documents in issue were exempt from disclosure under s.42(1)(a), s.42(1)(c) and s.44(1) of the FOI Act. A 'sufficiency of search' issue was also raised by the applicant.
The Information Commissioner found that the QPS did not have any additional documents, responsive to the terms of the applicant's FOI access application, in its possession or control; that the searches made by the QPS in an effort to locate any additional responsive documents had been reasonable in all the circumstances of the case; and that the QPS was not required by the FOI Act to recreate documents of which it had not kept copies. The Information Commissioner also found that the matter remaining in issue was exempt from disclosure under s.42(1)(a) (as it related to offences allegedly committed by the applicant, in respect of which the QPS had yet to lay charges), and under s.44(1) (as it concerned the personal affairs of third parties, or of the applicant and third parties, allegedly involved in those offences).