P6Y4SX and Department of Police
(310654, 31 January 2012)
Section 67(1) of the IP Act – Grounds on which access may be refused
Section 47(3)(b) of the RTI Act – Grounds on which access may be refused
Section 49 of the RTI Act – Contrary to public interest
The applicant applied to the Queensland Police Service (QPS) for access to a police report and all of the complainant’s submitted evidence, including a CD, arising out of stalking allegations made against the applicant.
QPS released parts of the police report but refused access to 19 pages in full and 9 pages in part as well as the CD on the basis that disclosing this information would, on balance, be contrary to the public interest under section 47(3)(b) of the Right to Information Act 2009 (Qld) (RTI Act).
During the review, QPS agreed to disclose a small amount of the applicant’s personal information as well as information previously disclosed to the applicant. The applicant indicated he did not require access to a letter he sent to QPS. Accordingly, the information remaining issue consisted of a police report, witness statement, draft witness statements, a QPS file note, correspondence sent by the complainant to QPS and a CD of images and videos.
The police concluded that ‘no offence has occurred’. As QPS concluded the allegations were unfounded, the applicant submitted that he should have access to all of the information surrounding those allegations. In particular, the applicant expressed concern about the effect the allegations have had on his and his wife’s wellbeing and contended he hadn’t had a chance to clear his name and required access to the information in issue to do so.
After considering the applicant’s submissions, relevant law and the information in issue, the Assistant Information Commissioner was satisfied there was a strong public interest in the applicant accessing his personal information as well as in protecting the privacy of the complainant (in relation to a significant portion of the information in issue) and other individuals. However, the public interest in protecting the free flow of information to QPS from members of the community was sufficiently strong as to tip the balance in favour of nondisclosure.
Accordingly, QPS’ decision was affirmed.