Cabinet Ministers may be referred to DPP over Heiner Affair

CABINET members suspected of destroying material related to the historical Heiner Affair could be referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The Heiner Affair relates the alleged cover-up of child abuse, including sexual assault, at the John Oxley Youth Centre in the late 80's.

The then-Goss government shredded documents relating to the scandal prior to an inquiry Magistrate Noel Heiner headed in 1989.

Tim Carmody QC was asked to investigate the matter as a side issue in the Child Protection Commission of Inquiry.

Mr Carmody handed down his recommendations from the Inquiry on Monday.

He found there was enough evidence for a jury to find that the then-Cabinet ordered the documents be destroyed by State Archives so they could not be used as evidence in the Heiner Inquiry.

Mr Carmody found "strictly as a matter of law" each of the Cabinet Ministers was a risk of conviction under section 129 of the Criminal Code.

"However the same body of evidence is also capable of supporting competing inferences that are probably equally consistent with innocence," Mr Carmody wrote in his report.

He also found a guilty verdict could be quashed on appeal.

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said he would consider the recommendation to refer the matter to the DPP.

"While the inquiry found there was no factual basis that the then Goss Government destroyed the documents in relation to allegations of child sexual abuse in youth detention centres, questions still remain," Mr Bleijie said.

"The very act of shredding the documents may have been unlawful and I will consider the report's recommendation to refer the matter to the Director of Public Prosecutions."


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