Probe on media link in limbo

by Chris Griffith
Written June 1995


my face


The Criminal Justice Commission and its parliamentary committee are involved in yet another incident involving leaks to the media.

Police have confirmed that the CJC has a copy of a secret police report which examined the alleged leaking of sensitive material to The Sun-Herald in 1993.

It is understood the PCJC also has a copy of the report.

The material was gathered during a major CJC investigation into former Goss government Secretary to Cabinet Stuart Tait, and was allegedly leaked to journalists Greg Abbott and Chris Griffith who wrote about the Tait investigation in April 1993.

However despite the expensive police investigation, the authorities have taken no action on the report even though it was completed 18 months ago.

Former PCJC chairman Ken Davies yesterday refused to comment.

"I can't talk to you about any of that. I'm not a member of the parliamentary committee any more," Mr Davies said.

And the CJC said it would not release the report nor comment because of its confidential standing.

The saga began in 1992 when the CJC investigated 32 cases where it was alleged Mr Tait had lodged departmental expense claims for lunches and other activities that could not be supported.

The CJC found there were 10 cases of prima facie evidence against Mr Tait, but Director of Prosecutions Royce Miller took no action. Mr Miller said the CJC's evidence was 'shaky', and it was unlikely a jury would convict Mr Tait.

However in April 1993, it was reported that Mr Tait's version of events had been contradicted by the people whom Mr Tait said were at the lunches.

Those disputing Mr Tait's account were some of Premier Wayne Goss's closest advisers who in December 1989 began working with Mr Tait to establish Cabinet procedures after the Goss government was elected.

They included Professor Patrick Weller and Dr Glyn Davis from Griffith University, and Mr Peter Forster, the former head of the Fitzgerald Report Implementation Unit.

But authorities viewed the reporting of the confidential evidence given by Prof Weller, Dr Davis, and Mr Forster as indicating a serious leak which should be investigated.

It was suspected the information had come from either the Director of Prosecutions' Office, the PCJC, or the CJC -- a factor which disqualified the CJC from holding the investigation itself.

That fell instead to Chief Superintendent Cliff Crawford of the Professional Standards Unit who investigated the leak during the last six months of 1993. He forwarded a report to the CJC at the end of 1993.

CJC media adviser Christine Henderson said she could not say what the commission did with the report, but CJC procedures required the report also to go to the Attorney-General and the Minister for Police and Emergency Services.

Sources last week said the report also was forwarded to the PCJC over a year ago.

The report's existence comes at a time the CJC and the PCJC are embroiled over the leaking of sensitive intelligence information to The Courier-Mail and The Australian about "Operation Wallah", a joint CJC-Police investigation into international money laundering, alleged irregularities in defence contracts, and prostitution.

Last year the commission and Mr Davies' committee also clashed over another leaking incident. The CJC was accused of leaking details of an investigation into Japanese and South American organised crime links involving cocaine and heroine trafficking contained in its November 1993 briefing report.