Labor Magistrate throws out charges
Charges against the Queensland Police Commissioner for failing to provide regular tyre-spike training to her officers have been dismissed.
Katarina Carroll had been charged with two counts of failing to comply with her health and safety duties between January 1, 2012, and June 30, 2019. During this 7½-year period, 26 officers were injured on the job while deploying tyre spikes.
She sought to have the charges, brought by the Office of the Work Health and Safety Prosecutor, thrown out because she was not in the top job during the period alleged, and she claimed she couldn’t be charged with criminal offences in her position.
The charges were filed on February 1, 2021. The first charge relates to officers being put at risk by the Commissioner’s actions, while the second relates to risks to members of the public.
Magistrate Stephen Courtney handed down his decision at the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Thursday afternoon.
He said that after reading through the Work Health and Safety Act and The Police Service Administration Act, he found the police commissioner herself could not be a defendant.
“Ultimately, I am satisfied section 248 does not authorise the office of the commissioner of the police service to be named as a defendant and a complaint will be in breach of the work health and safety act,” he said.
“I am also satisfied the office of the commissioner of the police service is not otherwise a legal personality capable of being so named.”
Judge Courtney also said the particulars around practical measures of spikes were at times “inconsistent” but followed legal obligations overall.
“The particulars read together tell the commissioner what duty owed, when it failed to comply with the duty, what it did in attempting to comply with duty, what additional measures were practical … I am satisfied the particulars read as a whole satisfy those requirements,” he said. – Brisbane Times