Corruption watchdog wins High Court bid in fight for report’s release

Queensland’s corruption watchdog has won the right to move forward with its effort to publicly detail allegations involving former public trustee Peter Carne.

Dec 15, 2022, updated Dec 15, 2022
Former head of the Public Trustee Peter Carne

Former head of the Public Trustee Peter Carne

The High Court of Australia on Thursday granted the Crime and Corruption Commission a special leave to appeal against a Queensland Court of Appeal decision to block the release of a report into alleged misconduct by Carne during his public service.

Two of the three Queensland justices in the matter allowed Carne’s appeal against releasing the report in August, setting aside the original Supreme Court ruling and ordering the CCC pay Carne’s costs.

“It is not a report which has been made by the Commission (CCC) in the performance of any of its statutory functions,” the Court of Appeal’s decision in August said.

“Consequently, this report could not be the subject of parliamentary privilege.”

The full bench of the High Court will hear the CCC’s appeal in favour of releasing the report next year.

Carne held the position of Public Trustee of Queensland from 2009 to 2014, a role that involves holding powers of attorney over citizens who cannot manage their own affairs as well as managing deceased estates and holding unclaimed money.

The outcome of the CCC’s appeal could affect a similar case brought by former Queensland treasurer Jackie Trad, who is fighting to stop the commission releasing a report into allegations that she intervened in the recruitment of a senior public servant in 2019.

Trad’s case had been adjourned awaiting an outcome in the CCC’s appeal and will now be reviewed.

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