The OIA legal team
The OIA lawyers work closely with the investigations team. They are responsible for progressing matters to the Councillor Conduct Tribunal and prosecuting offences under the Local Government Act in the Magistrates Court.
Their combined experience is extensive having worked at the Crime and Corruption Commission, in-house legal for a local government, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and Legal Aid Queensland. They are experienced in appearing before the District Court, the Magistrates Court and QCAT.
Councillor Conduct Tribunal(CCT)
How does the OIA decide to take a councillor complaint to the CCT
This guideline sets out the decision-making considerations for the OIA to make an application to the Councillor Conduct Tribunal. It also sets out public interest considerations the OIA may take into account and factors that the OIA will consider when making submissions on sanctions and appeals.
Understanding the Councillor Conduct Tribunal process
This simplified flowchart (PDF, 133KB) sets out the tribunal process after a councillor has given a section 150AA Notice and Opportunity to Respond.
Councillor Conduct Tribunal practice directions will be published on the website of the Department of Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs.
Councillor Conduct Tribunal decisions
The decisions on councillor complaints heard by the CCT can be found the website of the Department of Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs.
How the OIA decides when to pursue criminal prosecutions in the Magistrates Court
This guideline sets out the considerations that will be taken by the Independent Assessor in determining if a complaint proceeds to a criminal prosecution. The steps taken include consideration of prospects of success and public interest considerations.
Understanding the criminal prosecution process
The OIA is able to prosecute a number of Local Government Act 2009 offences in the Magistrates Court including:
- Frivolous complaints;
- Other improper complaints, that is complaints made vexatiously or not in good faith;
- Protection from reprisal;
- Use of information by councillors; and
- Offences relating to a councillor’s failure to inform meeting of material personal interest or conflict of interest.
The OIA begins a criminal prosecution by issuing a complaint and summons for the defendant to appear in the Magistrates Court.
The matter would then follow the usual Magistrates Court process and be listed for a guilty plea or a contested trial before a magistrate. The OIA would prosecute these matters and the defendant may choose to have legal representation.
Disqualification as councillor following a conviction for certain offences
Conviction for certain criminal offences can trigger disqualification of a person from being a councillor, indefinitely or for a specified period of time, under section 153(1) of the Local Government Act 2009.
The OIA is able to prosecute a number of integrity offences which, on conviction, automatically trigger a person’s disqualification from being a councillor for four years.
Serious integrity offences, including certain offences under the Criminal Code and the Local Government Electoral Act, are prosecuted by other agencies. On conviction, these offences will automatically trigger a person’s disqualification from being a councillor for seven years.