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Report Details

Committee Name:

Anti-Corruption Commission Joint Committee (1997 - 2001)


Report Type:Report


A Report on the Special Investigation Conducted By Mr Geoffrey Miller QC: The Allegations, The Evidence, The Outcomes and Their Relevance to Anti-Corruption Procedures Within The Western Australian Police Service
Report No:9
No of Pages:80
Physical Location:State Law Publisher

Presentation Date:


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    Hide details for Chairman's ForewordChairman's Foreword

    The Joint Standing Committee on the Anti-Corruption Commission presents this report in the knowledge that this is the first time that details of the allegations against six police officers who were adversely named in the report of the Special Investigation undertaken by Mr Geoffrey Miller QC (the “Miller Investigation”) have been released publicly. The Miller Investigation was conducted over six months, from 16 June 1997 when Mr Miller was sworn in as an Anti-Corruption Commission Special Investigator, to 5 December 1997 when his report (the “Miller Report”) was presented to the Commissioners for their consideration.

    Four days after receiving the Miller Report, the Chairman of the Anti-Corruption Commission (the “ACC”), Mr Terry O’Connor QC, announced the Commission’s intention to release it. Before doing so, the Commission was required to invite the six police officers named in the report to make submissions. They declined to do so. Instead, an application was lodged in the Supreme Court for a Writ of Certiorari and interim injunction preventing the ACC and the Commissioner of Police from publishing findings contained in the Miller Report. An order nisi and interim injunction were granted.

    There followed a vigorous campaign by the Western Australian Police Union (the “Police Union”) against the ACC, the Special Investigation and its statutory obligations of confidentiality, and the Commissioner of Police for his suspension of the six officers named in the Miller Report. The last of these included a concentrated campaign against the “loss of confidence” power available to the Commissioner under Section 8 of the Police Act 1892 (WA).

    The case against the ACC was heard by the Full Court of the Supreme Court on 22 April 1998. Judgement was delivered in 8 May 1998.Parker and Others v Miller and Others (Parker v Miller) Unreported decision of the Full Court, Supreme Court of Western Australia, delivered 8 May 1998, Lib. No. 980249.

    On 2 September 1998 the six officers obtained another order nisi for a Writ of Certiorari against the ACC seeking to quash reports provided by the ACC to the Commissioner of Police. After a hearing by the Full Court the order nisi was discharged by the Full Court on 31 March 1999.Parker and Others v Anti-Corruption Commission (Parker v ACC) Unreported decision of the Full Court, delivered 31 March 1999, Lib. No. 990162B.

    The Order prohibiting the release of the findings contained in the Miller Report remains in place. The Joint Standing Committee has not received the findings, nor does it have information about them.

    This report, save for the chronology, is derived entirely from reports on the Miller Investigation prepared by the ACC which were relevant to the allegations against each of the officers, which reports had been given to the officers to enable them to defend section 8 notices against them by the Commissioner of Police. These reports were given by the officers to the Joint Standing Committee.

    By sending copies of three of the reports, unsolicited, to each member of the Joint Standing Committee, lawyers acting for the Police Union, effectively, published them. The other three reports were sent to the Committee, at its request, by the Police Union. Additional procedural information was sought from and given to the Committee by the ACC and the Commissioner of Police.

    In preparing this report, the Committee has been able to call upon the substantial documentary information it has accumulated. However, the Committee does not have complete information because of Court Orders preventing the ACC from releasing the Miller Report and attendant evidence. Neither has the Committee been able to use all the information it has because some was made available in confidence and cannot be reported, even to Parliament.

    It is important to note that the Joint Standing Committee invited the six officers to provide copies of their responses to the section 8 notices they received in June. Only one responded and he declined.

    Only when the Miller Report and, more important, the evidence gathered in the Special Investigation, can be released will it be possible to appreciate the full nature of the matters investigated and their implications for the Western Australian Police Service. Until now, the public controversy about this case has been unbalanced, mainly because the ACC and the Commissioner of Police have been constrained by decisions of the Supreme Court in answering some of the things which have been said and reported by others.

    Even with the reservations that it does not know everything and cannot divulge all that it knows, the Committee presents this report so that Members of Parliament, and therefore the public, have more information available to enable them to make informed judgements about the actions of the ACC and the response of the then Commissioner of Police to the conduct of the six police officers adversely named in the Miller Report.

    The Committee offers no judgement in this report about the conduct of those officers. That has been decided by others and their decisions and the evidence available to them in reaching their decisions is presented here without prejudice. However, the information presented here invites comment on some aspects of operating procedures police officers are required to follow. It also invites commentary on the power of the Commissioner of Police to discipline, by suspension and dismissal if justified, police officers who fail to maintain professional standards expected of them. Those matters are considered in detail in the Discussion section of this report.

    The Joint Standing Committee on the Anti-Corruption Commission presents this report for Parliament’s consideration.

    Hon Derrick Tomlinson MLC