O'Reilly and Department of Police

Application number:
1993 S0155
Decision date:
Monday, Nov 18, 1996
(1996) 3 QAR 402

O'Reilly and Queensland Police Service
(1993 S0155, 18 November 1996)


This case was similar in many respects to Ferrier and Queensland Police Service (1996) 3 QAR 350.  The Information Commissioner found that some matter was exempt under s.42(1)(b) and some matter was exempt under s.44(1). However, the Information Commissioner rejected claims that other matter was exempt under s.42(1)(f) and s.42(1)(h).  In doing so, the Information Commissioner discussed the 'mosaic theory' and acknowledged that, in an appropriate case, submissions and/or evidence could be lodged by an agency, which could form a basis for a finding that there is an expectation, for the occurrence of which real and substantial grounds exist, that disclosure of one piece of information in issue, when combined with other available information, could enable further information to be deduced, thereby occasioning prejudice of a kind specified in s.42(1)(f) or s.42(1)(h) of the FOI Act.  However, the Information Commissioner emphasised that there must be a reasonable expectation of prejudice, and declined to adopt references to a 'degree of speculation', which appear in two decisions of the Commonwealth Administrative Appeals Tribunal, as being sufficient to satisfy this requirement.


The Information Commissioner 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 Counter-Terrorist Section of the Queensland Police Service since 1990.