JM and Department of Police

Application number:
1993 S0192
Decision date:
Friday, May 12, 1995
(1995) 2 QAR 516

JM and Queensland Police Service
(1993 S0192, 12 May 1995)


The first issue raised by this case was a challenge to the sufficiency of search by the respondent for a requested document.  Applying principles set out in Shepherd and Department of Housing, Local Government and Planning (1994) 1 QAR 464, the Information Commissioner was satisfied from the evidence lodged by the respondent that there were no reasonable grounds for believing that the respondent held the document which the applicant asserted it held.


The second issue concerned the application of s.22(a) and s.22(b) of the FOI Act, and paragraphs 21-43 of the Information Commissioner's reasons for decision contain a detailed analysis of those provisions.  The Information Commissioner expressed the view that a literal interpretation of the words 'open to public access' in s.22(a) would give that provision a far more restricted sphere of operation than it was probably intended to have.  At paragraph 36, the Information Commissioner suggested that the wording of s.22(a) may require review by the legislature, and suggested an amendment that would make the wording of s.22(a) more consistent with the wording of s.22(b).


The Information Commissioner held that, by virtue of s.22(b), the respondent was entitled to refuse the applicant access under the FOI Act to copies of his criminal history and a Court brief, because those documents were reasonably available for purchase by the applicant under administrative arrangements made by the respondent.