Ferrier and Department of Police

Application number:
1993 S0156
Decision date:
Monday, Aug 19, 1996
(1996) 3 QAR 350

Ferrier and Queensland Police Service
(1993 S0156, 19 August 1996)


The Information Commissioner considered the application of various exemptions claimed by the Queensland Police Service to apply to documents created for the purposes of the Special Branch, prior to its winding-up in 1989.  The Information Commissioner found that some matter which could reasonably be expected to identify sources of information provided to the Special Branch, was exempt matter under s.42(1)(b) - confidential source of information.  The Information Commissioner determined that other matter, including matter which concerned the shared personal affairs of the applicant and others, was exempt matter under s.44(1) - personal affairs.  The Information Commissioner rejected the claims of the respondent that other matter was exempt under s.38, s.41(1), s.42(1)(b), s.42(1)(e), s.42(1)(f), s.42(1)(h), s.44(1) and/or s.46(1)(b).


However, the Information Commissioner did decide that some file names and other matter which would identify organisations with respect to which files were retained by the Counter-Terrorist Section of the respondent (the CTS) in 1990, were exempt under s.42(1)(h).  In doing so, the Information Commissioner discussed the meaning of the word 'system', and found that disclosure of the fact that an individual or group was, or was not, targeted by a body like the CTS could prejudice the system for the protection of persons and property set out in the CTS Charter.


The Information Commissioner also upheld the decision of the respondent, under s.35, to neither confirm nor deny that it held any documents relating to the applicant which had been created by, or for the purposes of, the CTS since 1990.