Date: 5 April 2022
Tribunal: Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal
Tribunal Member: Member Lee
Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld) Sections: s 31
Rights Considered: Right to a fair hearing
Other Legislation: Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009 (Qld) ss 17, 19, 20, 21, 28, 66, 90; Weapons Act 1990 (Qld), ss 10B, 29, 142A
Keywords: Public Law Considerations

The appellant sought a preliminary decision about whether information filed by QPS was ‘criminal intelligence’ in proceedings involving a substantive review of three decisions relating to weapons licensing. Member Lee concluded the information was ‘criminal intelligence’ resulting in its non-disclosure to the applicant, and in doing so consideration was given to the right to a fair hearing under section 31 of the Queensland Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld).

The applicant sought review of three decisions relating to the revocation and rejection of weapons licenses. Before these matters could proceed to a substantive review hearing, it was necessary for Member Lee to determine the preliminary issue of whether information filed by the Queensland Police Service (QPS) was correctly categorised as ‘criminal intelligence’ under the Weapons Act 1990 (Qld). Member Lee considered the information satisfied several of possible criteria that constitute ‘criminal intelligence’ under section 142A of the Weapons Act 1990 (Qld): at [24]. This resulted in the information being protected from disclosure to the applicant for the substantive review hearing: at [28].

In making the decision, Member Lee noted that, while no submission was made by either party addressing the Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld), the right to fair hearing under section 31 was potentially engaged and limited by the decision to prevent the disclosure of information to the applicant. Ultimately, Member Lee was satisfied the limitation placed on the applicant’s right to a fair hearing was lawful and proportionate in the circumstances, and reasonably justifiable based on several grounds, including: the potential consequences of disclosure of the information, the overriding objectives of the Weapons Act 1990 (Qld) to prevent weapons misuse and that the right to a fair hearing should be balanced against the right to the community if ‘criminal intelligence’ is disclosed: at [27].

Visit the judgment: ELS v QPS – Weapons Licensing [2022] QCAT 118