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Publishing policy

Prosecution outcomes and other enforcement information

The Office of Industrial Relations publishes information about prosecutions and enforceable undertakings.

Publishing prosecution-related information and enforceable undertakings encourages compliance with Queensland's work health and safety and electrical safety laws by:

  • educating duty holders and the community about the consequences of non-compliance
  • identifying the need for real and sustainable improvement in safety practices in Queensland workplaces to reduce the toll from work-related death, injury and illness
  • increasing awareness of the need to protect individuals, families and the community from deaths, injuries and property loss caused by electricity and workplace incidents
  • providing information about how to prevent similar breaches.

Publishing principles

We endeavour to ensure that all published information is accurate, impartial and balanced, and encourages compliance with Queensland's work health and safety and electrical safety laws.

We draw public and media attention to factual information about charges which have been laid before the courts, but take great care to avoid any publicity which could prejudice a fair trial.

We also strive to ensure the information we publish is not defamatory, does not violate the rule and conventions relating to sub judice (cases that are still being considered or are before the courts), or in any other way prejudices the fair hearing or objectivity required in such matters.

Publishing methods

We publicise prosecution-related information and enforceable undertakings via:

  • our website
  • media statements (we issue media releases and respond to media enquiries, including on occasion granting media interviews to print, broadcast and online media outlets)
  • conferences and public forums (our representatives participate in public forums, such as safety conferences, disseminate information and statistics on prosecutions and enforceable undertakings)
  • publications (we publish a wide variety of printed publications or printable versions of online publications which contain information on prosecutions and enforceable undertakings)
  • research (we collect and publish data and statistics on notices issued, fines imposed, successful prosecutions and accepted enforceable undertakings).

Approach to public comment and publishing of information

Investigations

If requested, we will confirm the start of an investigation to clarify factual and procedural matters and to avoid speculation in the media.

Generally, we will not comment on the specifics of an ongoing investigation.

To protect the privacy of people involved in workplace incidents involving safety issues, no personal identifying information is released publicly except as part of a legal proceeding.

Comment on court proceedings prior to their resolution will generally only be made in relation to particular steps in the court process.

We will also, from time to time as it deems appropriate, publish relevant information such as industry alerts on urgent safety issues.

Prosecution and trial

Information we release in relation to the issuing of charges, the start of prosecution proceedings, or trial will generally be in response to a media enquiry. We may also issue a media release and post information to the website. Information issued is confined to stating facts only.

Identifying information of the defendant(s) will be published. No information relating to any injured persons, or involved third parties will be released. Any description of the incident will be factual, brief and in no way suggest that the charges are well-founded, infer guilt or are likely to succeed or not.

Guilty finding

Upon a finding of guilt by the court, we may publish identifying information in relation to the defendant(s), the offence, the penalty imposed and related matters. We may also make general comment(s) about relevant systemic or industry issues such as the prevalence of a risk or hazard, methods for its control, or prevalence of a particular industrial practice.

Where charges are not proven

Where the alleged offender is found not guilty at trial or the charges are withdrawn, we may publish identifying information in certain circumstances such as to clarify the status of proceedings (e.g. where requested by the person who has been found not guilty or against whom charges have been withdrawn). Such information will be limited to information that is already in the public domain as a result of the prosecution process.

Appeals

Where a finding is under appeal

The words 'under appeal' will be highlighted in the information posted to the website as soon as we receive official written notification of the appeal having been lodged.

Where a conviction is overturned on appeal

All information on the case will be withdrawn from our website as soon as we receive official written notification of the judgement quashing the conviction.

Where a sentence is overturned on appeal

Any change to the sentence as a result of an appeal will be indicated in the information posted to the website as soon as we receive official written confirmation.

Penalties imposed

Queensland's work health and safety and electrical safety laws give the courts considerable scope to punish offenders and to deter others, including imprisonment for some offences.

We publish the maximum penalties presently available to the courts under the:

We will not comment on penalties imposed in specific cases by magistrates in proceedings heard before the Industrial Magistrates Court or the Queensland Industrial Court.

However, we will continue seeking to raise the courts' awareness of the gravity of safety and industrial relations offences and of the full extent of their sentencing powers, while recognising that it is for the courts to decide whether or not someone is guilty and what penalty if any to impose on conviction.

Public register of prosecutions and enforceable undertakings

All prosecutions which result in a successful conviction, and in respect of work health and safety and electrical safety breaches, all applications for enforceable undertakings in lieu of prosecution accepted by us will be published on our website and listed in our annual report.

Information published on the website aims to be accessible to everyone and will identify how to improve systems and work practices to prevent similar breaches.

What information is published on the register and for how long?

We prosecute companies and individuals for breaches of work health and safety and electrical safety laws. Identifying details of both companies and individuals who are defendants will be published.

Where there is a successful prosecution but an order is made that no conviction is to be recorded, we will remove information from the court summary to avoid breach of the court's order and infringement of section 12 of the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 (the Penalties Act).

Cases will appear on the website for five years and will then be removed and archived. Cases against individuals under the age of 18 will appear on the website but will not include identifying details.

What information is not published on the register?

Examples of information that may not be published includes information about:

  • breaches which did not lead to a court case and were dealt with using other enforcement options, including infringement, improvement and prohibition notices. However, public comment may be made if it is deemed to be in the public interest
  • unsuccessful cases, where the court decided we had not proven our case and ruled in favour of the defendant
  • cases where a conviction was overturned on appeal.

Enforceable undertakings

Enforceable undertakings are made public through our website and through advertising in relevant newspapers. Accepted enforceable undertakings will appear on the website for five years.Some information may not be published including information that:

  • is considered to be personal
  • may be commercial in confidence
  • should not be disclosed because its release would be contrary to the public interest
  • is deemed to carry legal professional privilege.

The copy of the enforceable undertaking published to the website will include the reason for certain information being deleted.

We may also choose to issue a media release when an enforceable undertaking is accepted.

Obtaining more details

Find more information about accessing departmental information.

Complaints about published information

We have a formal complaint management policy and process in place to ensure that complaints are addressed appropriately. The policy aims to promote public confidence in the department by ensuring openness and transparency in handling complaints about its services and/or products.

Privacy

Prosecutions outcomes and details of enforceable undertakings are published in accordance with our privacy plan.

Last updated
30 May 2017

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