Press release and Courier Mail article:
Last year the Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Mr Beanland, sought advice from the Director of Public Prosecutions on a number of issues raised in the Morris Howard report on the Heiner shredding affair.
Premier Rob Borbidge said today he had been briefed on the advice provided by the DPP to the Attorney General.
The Premier said the Director had advised against charges being laid against any person under either section 132 of the Criminal Code, which relates to conspiracy to defeat the course of justice, or under section 140, which relates to attempts to pervert the course of justice.
The Director also advised that the time limitation for commencement of any proceedings under the Libraries and Archives Act had, in any event, elapsed.
Mr Borbidge said the Director had advised there was one matter relative to which a charge could, theoretically, be laid under section 92 of the Criminal Code which deals with abuse of office.
But the Director had concluded his advice by stating that: "Very considerable time has been expended by a good many people in the pursuit of the truth regarding the Heiner matter. One has to wonder whether the public interest requires further exploration or whether it is now time to put the matter to rest once and for all".
Mr Borbidge said the Government had accepted the Director's advice, and no prosecutions would be launched as a result of his report.
Further information: Frank Jackson (07) 3225 1479. A/H (07) 3369 8085 Mobile 0419 711139.
End of Press Release
The release was picked up by the Courier Mail (Brisbane's only daily newspaper) and the following appeared on page 10 on Thursday 12 June).
The marathon Heiner document shredding saga ended last night with the announcement that no one would be charged over the affair.
Premier Rob Borbidge, who is in Indonesia released a statement announcing Director of Public Prosecutions Royce Miller QC had advised against charges being laid against any person in relation to the affair, which began in 1990.
Last November, the Government referred to Mr Miller allegations that sensitive documents had been destroyed under the former Labor government.
Brisbane barristers Tony Morris, QC and Eddie Howard had recommended an inquiry be set up after compiling a report accusing former family services minister Anne Warner of making an illegal paymentof $27190 to a former public servant to buy his silence.
The barristers had suggested Family Services Department officers might have destroyed evidence and conspired to pervert the course of justice - offences which carry jail terms of up to seven years.
The shredded documents related to an inquiry by retired magistrate Noel Heiner into the John Oxley Youth Centre, set up late in 1989 by the National Party government.
Ms Warner said the documents had been destroyed to stop public servants taking legal action for defamation against people who had given evidence at the inquiry.
Mr Borbidge said Mr Miller advised that the time limit for starting any proceedings had lapsed, although one criminal charge dealing with abuse of office could, theoretically, be laid.
Mr Borbidge said the Government had accepted Mr Miller's advice, which stated: "Very considerable time has been expended by a good many people in the pursuit of the truth regarding the Heiner matter. One has to wonder whether the public interest requires further exploration or whether it is now time to put the matter to rest".
Former Labor premier Wayne Goss last night described the allegations as "flawed". "I never feared anything would come of it. What I did resent was the continud reports of some unspecified wrongdoings", he said.
Opposition Leader Peter Beattie, who estimate more than $400,000 had been spent on the affair, said the decision was "extraordinary". "He (Mr Borbidge) should apologise to Wayne Goss and the Cabinet. It is a humiliating admission that all this nonsense from Borbidge was nothing more than political rhetoric", he said.
Ms Warner described the Morris/Howard report as a witch hunt. "The Director's advice confirms my worst suspicions that the Government was using this in a political way and unfortunately a large number of individuals have been caused a great deal of stress", she said.
But whistleblower and former union offical Kevin Lindeberg, who lost his job after complaining about the incident, said he was outraged. "For over six years, I have wanted the Criminal Justice Commission to properly investigate the shredding but instead it has lied publicly, misled the State Parliament and the Senate, misquoted and misinterpreted the law and tampered with the evidence", Mr Lindeberg said.
End of article.