Scott and Queensland Corrective Services
(2006/F0025, 6 November 2007)
Sufficiency of search
In this review, the applicant sought access to a variety of documents from Queensland Corrective Services (QCS) relating to an incident in which he was involved at Woodford Correctional Centre (CC). During the course of this review, QCS conducted searches for documents responsive to the terms of the applicant’s freedom of information (FOI) application and located and released numerous documents to the applicant as a result of those searches. The applicant raised sufficiency of search issues with respect to documents concerning Ethical Standards Unit (ESU) inquiries, witness evidence, medical records, cassette tapes of ESU interviews and Corrective Service Officer (CSO) reports.
Assistant Commissioner (AC) Corby found that there were no reasonable grounds to believe that additional documents, as contended by the applicant, were in the possession or under the control of QCS. AC Corby also found that the searches conducted by QCS had been reasonable in the circumstances of this review.
The applicant also sought access to a copy of a video tape from the Woodford CC detention unit. Part of the tape showing the applicant in his cell had been released to the applicant by QCS pursuant to an earlier FOI application. In this review, the applicant sought access to the remaining footage on the video tape which showed the other prisoners in the detention unit. QCS claimed that the remaining footage qualified for exemption under section 44(1) of the FOI Act because it concerned the personal affairs of the other prisoners.
AC Corby found that the remaining footage, prima facie, concerned the personal affairs of the other prisoners. AC Corby also found that the public interest in favour of disclosure was not made out, the interest in maintaining the privacy of other prisoners prevailed and that therefore, the remaining footage on the video tape qualified for exemption under section 44(1) of the FOI Act.
The applicant also sought access to a copy of a video tape of the hallways of the Woodford CC detention unit (spine video tape). QCS relied upon section 29B(4)(a)(ii) of the FOI Act in refusing to deal with the applicant’s request for access to the spine video tape because he had already sought access to it in a previous FOI application which was the subject of a completed external review.
AC Corby found that the applicant’s later application did not disclose any reasonable basis for again seeking access to the spine video tape and that therefore, QCS was entitled to rely upon section 29B(4)(a)(ii) of the FOI Act in refusing to deal with the applicant’s later application for access to the spine video tape.