Gill and Brisbane City Council
(2000 L0007, 6 June 2001)
Brisbane City Council and Criminal Justice Commission; Gill (Third Party)
(2000 S0049, 6 June 2001)
The applicant Gill sought access to documents relating to a complaint he had made to the Brisbane City Council about a neighbour's dog attacking him, and to his subsequent complaint to the Criminal Justice Commission (CJC) that the Council had failed to handle his original complaint properly. One of the documents to which access was sought was a report prepared by the Corporate Investigative Unit (CIU) of the Council. This document was the subject of a 'reverse FOI' application made by the Council, objecting to the decision of the CJC to disclose the report.
The Council claimed that the matter in issue was exempt under s.42(1)(a), s.42(1)(b), s.42(1)(e), s.42(1)(h) and s.43(1) of the FOI Act; and, in the alternative, that parts of matter in issue were exempt under s.40(a), s.40(b), s.40(c), s.42(1)(e), s.44(1), s.45(1)(b), s.45(1)(c) and s.46(1) of the FOI Act.
The Information Commissioner upheld the Council's claim that the identifying particulars of the owner of the dog were exempt from disclosure under s.44(1) of the FOI Act, but found that the remaining matter in issue did not qualify for exemption under the FOI Act.
The major part of the decision examined exemption claims made under s.43(1), the legal professional privilege exemption. The Information Commissioner also commented that several of the exemptions claimed by the Council were considered entirely lacking in merit and that the Council and other agencies should, in future cases, bear in mind their ethical and legal obligations as government party participants in review proceedings under Part 5 of the FOI Act.