Anti-corruption boss ‘deeply saddened’ to call it quits after months of controversy

The boss of Queensland’s corruption watchdog has quit after months of controversy over its performance and a string of botched misconduct prosecutions.

Jan 25, 2022, updated Jan 25, 2022
Crime and Corruption Commission chairman Alan MacSporran QC. (AAP Image/Darren England)

Crime and Corruption Commission chairman Alan MacSporran QC. (AAP Image/Darren England)

Crime and Corruption Commission chair Alan MacSporran will leave the post on Friday.

His exit follows a tumultuous period in the CCC’s history, marked by the failure of commission investigators to turn their allegations of misconduct against local government figures into solid cases for prosecution.

The controversy culminated in a damning report by the parliamentary committee overseeing the CCC’s work, which slammed its conduct over the pursuit of eight former Logan City councillors who had fraud charges against them thrown out of court.

MacSporran, who had previously signalled he would resist calls for him to go, said he had been deeply saddened by the criticism of his performance, adding many people had urged him to continues in the role.

“However, I find myself in a position where, despite a career spanning in excess of 40 years, where my honesty and integrity have never been questioned, it is clear to me that the relationship between myself and the PCCC has broken down irretrievably,” he said.

“This saddens me deeply.

“As a Queen’s Counsel (QC) and criminal barrister, I came to the CCC with more than 40 years’ experience in the criminal justice system defending and prosecuting individuals in Queensland and Commonwealth jurisdictions, and brought extensive firsthand experience representing governments in commissions of inquiries and as a former Parliamentary Crime and Corruption Commissioner.

“In my long career, I have never, ever, let extraneous irrelevant considerations enter my thinking about a decision relating to the proper exercising of powers in proceedings as a Queen’s Counsel criminal barrister or as CCC Chairperson.”

He said investigating corruption and major crime was “inherently complex”.

“Those who are the subject of allegations and subsequent investigations can be persons with a high public profile. They frequently hold positions of power and the consequences of charges, let alone conviction, can be particularly grave.

“However, the Queensland community rightly expects the CCC to do its statutory job, and that ultimately involves making very complex, tough and independent decisions as an investigative agency. As Chairperson, I was willing to make, and support my staff making, those independent decisions.”

His exit comes after several mayors and the Local Government Association of Queensland insisted that his resignation was needed to restore public confidence in the CCC.

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The PCCC found the commission didn’t act “independently and impartially” in laying fraud charges against the former Logan mayor and seven councillors in 2019.

Its inquiry was launched in April after prosecutors dropped the charges due to a lack of evidence.

PCCC chair Jon Krause says the findings were “extremely serious”.

“Queensland needs an effective, independent, impartial watchdog on public sector corruption and major crime,” he told parliament at the time.

“The CCC has failed in the role entrusted to it by this parliament, on behalf of all Queenslanders.”

Krause said the watchdog’s power to both investigate and charge people had led to bias.

The committee recommended the government order a royal commission into the commission.


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