shredding: paid secrecy documents
By Ali Khan, Lyla Nicholson & Emmaline Stigwood
A DOCUMENT obtained by The Queensland Independent has added another twist to the events that followed the shredding of the Heiner Inquiry documents 10 years ago.
Shortly before the shredding the manager of the John Oxley Youth Centre, which was the subject of the Heiner Inquiry, was moved to another job.
The manager, Mr Peter Coyne, was subsequently given a payment of $27,190 for various entitlements and then made involuntarily redundant.
At the time he accepted the payment and signed a secrecy agreement.
This agreement ensured that Mr Coyne would not be able to disclose information regarding his redundancy nor events leading up to his departure.
Mr Coyne told TQI that the secrecy agreement he signed was "contrived" by the government.
He said his termination of employment had been "unlawful".
"In terms of confidentiality agreement, it was all the decision of the government; I wasn't interested in it at all," he said.
Mr Coyne said he now understood that due process was not carried out in relation to the government's approval of his payout.
"I understand in hindsight they didn't have the proper delegation to authorise [the payment]. So they seemed in a big hurry to get rid of me."
TQI is now aware that six years later Mr Coyne lodged a Supreme Court writ against the State of Queensland seeking damages in connection with a number of matters arising out of his termination of employment.
These claims included damages for: breach of contract; wrongful termination of employment; breach of statutory duty; deceit and negligence.
Mr Coyne also claimed damages from a former senior public servant for other breaches related to his redundancy.
Mr Coyne has since discontinued the writ.
"I've had an absolute gutful of lies, the deceit, the stalling.
"And it was my opinion if I was to take on the Queensland government I would need to have an unlimited bank reserve because of the potential damage to others," Mr Coyne said.
"If you want to take on the state, given that they'd been as difficult as they have been to the extent of destroying documents, I don't think there were going to make it easy for me," he said.
TQI is also aware that at the time of the Connolly/Ryan Inquiry into the CJC, Mr Coyne sought financial assistance from the Inquiry Legal Representation Office to prepare a submission to that inquiry.
In a document sighted by, Mr Coyne advised the Legal Representation Office through his solicitors that he had "good prospects of success in prosecuting an action against the State" and other public officials "for defamation and/or breach of statutory duty".
The Connolly/Ryan Inquiry was shut down by a decision of the Supreme Court before it had completed its hearings.