Back to square one: LGAQ calls for review of all watchdog’s failed cases

Queensland councils are demanding the Palaszczuk Government review all failed cases brought by the state’s corruption watchdog in the wake of Tony Fitzgerald’s damning report on its operations.

Aug 11, 2022, updated Aug 11, 2022
LGAQ Chief Executive Officer Alison Smith says more than 1400 local election nominees will become champions of their communities. (photo supplied)

LGAQ Chief Executive Officer Alison Smith says more than 1400 local election nominees will become champions of their communities. (photo supplied)

The Local Government Association of Queensland said it was crucial all the Crime and Corruption Commission’s failed prosecution attempts against mayors and councillors be reviewed, not just the bungled case against eight Logan councillors that led to Fitzgerald’s report.

More than 20 local government figures, including several mayors, had their careers cut short after being pursued by the CCC, only to see the charges against them proven to have no substance.

Several of the former Logan councillors wrongly charged with fraud before they were sacked by the government have demanded an apology and compensation.

The Government is likely to move to bring the CCC to heel following Fitzgerald’s commission of inquiry report this week showing the agency relied too heavily on seconded police and had a practice of bringing charges before consulting with the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Its conduct resulted in a long list of unsubstantiated charges being slapped on mayors and councillors across the state.

LGAQ chief executive Alison Smith said the report, along with parliamentary committee inquiries and court hearings, had “laid bare” the events that led to the wrongful charging of several local government figures.

“The Logan matter is not the only failed prosecution launched by the CCC against elected members in recent history,” she said.

“The Commission of Inquiry has recommended the CCC work with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to develop a process for conducting post‐prosecution reviews.

“We would urge this work to be undertaken as swiftly as possible.

“Further, we are calling for the CCC and the DPP to prioritise the review of other failed cases launched against elected members, so that any other instances of potential miscarriage of justice can be identified, rectified and processes put in place to ensure mistakes are never repeated.”

She said making sure failed cases were reviewed and lessons learned were key to making sure Queenslanders had a corruption watchdog they could put faith in.

Fitzgerald’s report pointed to the damage to the reputations and health of those wrongly targeted by the CCC, a point likely to be used by those demanding compensation.

“The Logan City Council matter offers a salient example of the consequences of the decision to charge, including the harm to mental health and reputation that flowed from the decision,” it said.





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