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Privacy Law and Policy Reporter (PLPR)
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Greenleaf, Graham --- "Prosecutions follow NSW ICAC data trafficking report" [1994] PrivLawPRpr 31; (1994) 1(3) Privacy Law & Policy Reporter 47

Prosecutions follow NSW ICAC data trafficking report

Graham Greenleaf

The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has commenced prosecutions against 17 individuals as a result of its 1992 Report on Unauthorised Release of Government Information, with another 35 briefs under consideration by the Director of Public Prosecution (some against more than one person). Forty six Police and Road Transport Authority (RTA) officers also resigned or had disciplinary action taken against them in the wake of the Report. ICAC has provided details of its follow-up action to the Reporter, as at mid-March 1994.

Only five prosecutions have been finalised as yet (two public officials andthree private inquiry agents), all for perjury under s87 of the ICAC Act. Three were convicted with fines and good behaviour bonds imposed, one matter was dismissed, and in the other the magistrate found there was sufficient evidence to commit for trial but used his discretion to decline to commit.

In most of the other prosecutions, the informations were only laid in 1994.Nine are against private inquiry agents, almost all of which involve s87 perjury charges. Some involve other criminal charges as well, including chargesunder s309 Crimes Act 1901 (NSW) for unlawful access to computer data, andunder s88 ICAC Act for destruction of documents. Two prosecutions are against former RTA officials, for bribery or conspiracy to bribe, and one solicitor hasbeen charged with s87 perjury.

The briefs under consideration for further prosecutions cover much the same range of offences, and relate to three former RTA employees, ten former police officers, three bank employees and over 20 private inquiry agents or those involved in the industry.

Nine RTA officers either resigned or were dismissed after publication of the Report. Seven serving police in respect of whom recommendations were made in the Report resigned after its publication, and four prior to its publication. Two officers are currently on suspension, three have been reprimanded, nine counselled, five had no action taken after departmental investigation, and investigations were continuing in relation to five others.

ICAC considers that both the police and RTA have improved significantly their information systems since the Report, with all accesses recorded and periodic spot auditing.

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