Scott and Department of Corrective Services
(2004 F0746, 7 September 2005)
The applicant sought access to documents comprising video surveillance and audio recordings covering his incarceration in the Detention Unit of the Woodford Correctional Centre on 19 July 2002, by way of three variously dated FOI access applications.
First FOI access application – Extension of time
The applicant's application for external review as it related to the first FOI access application was lodged more than eight months outside the prescribed 60 day time limit, and the applicant sought an extension of time under s.73(1)(d) of the FOI Act.
Applying the principles stated in Young and Workers' Compensation Board of Qld (1994) 1 QAR 543, Assistant Information Commissioner (AC) Barker declined to grant the requested extension of time. AC Barker found that the application did not disclose a reasonably arguable case with reasonable prospects of success, because she was satisfied that the matter in issue (parts of a video surveillance tape containing footage of other prisoners also held in the cells of the Detention Unit on 19 July 2002) would qualify for exemption under s.44(1) of the FOI Act, applying the principles established in Shepherd and Department of Housing, Local Government & Planning (1994) 1 QAR 464.
AC Barker was also satisfied that there were no reasonable grounds for believing that additional footage of the cells of the Detention Unit falling within the terms of the applicant's FOI access application existed in the possession, or under the control, of the respondent, and that the searches and inquiries undertaken by the respondent to locate all responsive documents had been reasonable in all the circumstances of the case.
Accordingly, AC Barker declined to exercise the discretion contained in s.73(1)(d) of the FOI Act to grant the applicant an extension of time within which to lodge his application for external review as it related to the first FOI access application.
Second FOI access application – Sufficiency of search
The second FOI access application requested access to video surveillance footage of the "spine" of the Detention Unit (the corridor outside the cells). Applying the principles stated in Shepherd and Department of Housing, Local Government and Planning (1994) 1 QAR 464, Assistant Information Commissioner Barker was satisfied that the searches and inquiries by the respondent to locate "spine" footage had been reasonable in all the circumstances of the case, and that there were no reasonable grounds for believing that any such document existed in the Department's possession or under its control.
Third FOI access application – no jurisdiction to review
The third FOI access application related to a request for access to intercom audio recordings of the applicant's cell in the Detention Unit. The applicant's application for external review as it related to this access application was premature, and accordingly, AC Barker found she had no jurisdiction to deal with it.