Lucas Inquiry

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The Lucas Inquiry, chaired by Justice G. A. G. Lucas, began in 1976 and was constituted to look into police corruption in Queensland. It was prompted by the Queensland Council for Civil Liberties, along with the Queensland Law Society, who demanded an inquiry into police corruption.[1]

Background[edit]

The Lucas Inquiry emanated from the "Southport Betting Case," a trial where a number of high ranking police officers were alleged to have fabricated evidence to clear two bookmakers of prosecution.[2] In November 1974 two suspected "starting price" bookmakers, Brian Leonard George Sieber and Stanley Derwent Saunders, were charged and arrested "with possession of instruments of betting" and it was alleged these two men and many other bookmakers operating in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast were chief sources of "corrupt payments to police" in the Licensing Branch, a subsection of the Criminal Intelligence Unit. The CIU was a police department "formed to collect, record and disseminate intelligence on organized crime and corruption, and to apprehend and prosecute those involved."[2] In 1975, the results of the trial found neither men guilty and the loss was devastating to the campaign against both corruption and the integrity of the CIU. "The Criminal Intelligence Unit had failed to secure a prosecution in a seemingly iron-clad case-one where money was actually paid over, the vital conversations had been taped and most of the activities had been observed by members of the CIU."[2] This "cover up" prompted the investigation into police behaviour, resulting in the Lucas Inquiry. Terry O'Gorman said at the National Convention on Civil Liberties, held in 1976, “the conclusions on the Southport Case cast serious doubt on the reliability and integrity of inspectors in the Queensland Police Force."[3]

Aims[edit]

The aims of the inquiry were to:

  • Investigate police fabrication of evidence and testimonies;
  • Protect individuals from police interrogation and harassment and;
  • To discover whether police have too much power interrogating, searching and arresting citizens.[4]

Findings[edit]

The Lucas report resulted in findings of significant police misconduct and corruption, assault and proof of police "planting evidence, forging warrants and fabricating confessions."[1] One of the reports recommendations were that police interviews be recorded to reduce verballing. O'Gorman, although praising the recommended introduction of tape recordings during police interviews, was highly critical of the report as there were no police charged with misconduct and many were even promoted.[5] He said "the inquiry has made the comment that here we have these officers who have not only not been proceeded against but a number of the principal offenders have been promoted. What sort of a police force do we have if the upper echelons of the police force are led to believe that mis-deeds will be rewarded by subsequent promotion.”[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Clarke, Eddie. Guardian of Your Rights:Queensland Council for Civil Liberties: A History, 1966–2007. Brisbane: Supreme Court of Queensland Library, 2008. Print.
  2. ^ a b c "Report of a Commission Inquiry Persuant to Orders in Council"
  3. ^ "Subject or Citizen.National Convention on Civil Liberties.Fryer Box 3.1976."
  4. ^ Geraghty, J.M. The Citizen and the Police: A Publication of the Queensland Council for Civil Liberties. Brisbane: Queensland Council for Civil Liberties.1982. Print
  5. ^ (7 August 2008). Civil Libertarian and Criminal Lawyer Terry O'Gorman. ABC Local conversations with Richard Fidler. Abc.net.au. Retrieved on 7 May 2012.
  6. ^ "Subject or Citizen.National Convention on Civil Liberties.Fryer Box 3.1976."