You will recall I previously wrote an article titled “What is Happening” regarding the QCAT application to obtain the elusive Police Review. Graham Stafford’s lawyers initially applied to the Queensland Administrative Appeals Tribunal (QCAT) in March 2016 to set aside the decision of the Information Commissioner refusing access to the Police Review with a hearing into the matter in September 2016. There is a Practice Direction in the Qld Supreme Court that judgments should be delivered within 3 months. However, the system obviously doesn’t always work that way. Judgement was finally delivered in May 2019. More than 3 years after lodging the application!
Even two newspaper articles about the delay by David Murray of The Australian did not appear to have any impact on the timing of the delivery of the verdict.
QCAT found in favour of the applicant (Stafford) but in a bizarre twist, rather than order the Review to be handed over Judge Sheridan ordered the matter be remitted to the Information Commissioner in case there were other grounds for exemption!
You will find the actual decision attached.
However, in the meantime the QPS appealed the decision. The matter has been referred to the Court of Appeal which in Queensland means the Supreme Court. The matter is set down for hearing on Friday 18 October 2019. The QPS have engaged a Queen’s Counsel to appear on their behalf so to say they are defending the matter vigorously would be an understatement. We can only hope we do not have to wait 3 years for a decision.
Why do I have the feeling the QPS do not want the Police Review released under any circumstances? If they are confident of their investigation and findings what do they have to hide? Do they forget that police commissioner Atkinson, when announcing the review stated publicly the review would be open, accountable and available to all upon completion. Who overrode that directive? And on whose authority? And what was the pressing need that required an otherwise straight forward review to be closed, unaccountable and available to no one? And finally, what is the pressing factor that they have to defend release of the review so aggressively?
I am very keen to know how they dealt with the matters I alerted them to in the lead up to the review including the time of death, other possible suspects, police fabricating evidence and committing perjury and various other matters as raised in the book “Who Killed Leanne Holland?”.
I have been told only very brief snippets of the review. One such snippet was a group of some 12 forensic scientists reviewing the scientific evidence concluded Stafford could not have acted alone. There has NEVER been any suggestion of an accomplice. So based on that result alone, why hasn’t the QPS reopened the investigation to identify and prosecute the accomplice? So many questions, so few answers.
We can only hope that obtaining the Police Review will answer so many questions.