The court opined that the respondent’s submissions were misconceived, and not directed to the relevant statutory test the court must apply in considering the application. The court was also satisfied that the respondent had been afforded procedural justice, and that those submissions alleging the contrary were without merit.
The court’s conception of the relevant statutory test was whether the court was satisfied that the information sought was both in the respondent’s possession, and was “about the circumstances of, or the reasons for, the incident”.
In its decision, the court referred to the Court of Appeal’s decision in SDA v Corporation of the Synod of the Diocese of Rockhampton (2021) 8 QR 440 (‘SDA’). The court noted that it was held in SDA that the nature of information about prior similar incidents (then, in the context of a claim for damages as a result of abuse in an institution) which is required to be given by a respondent under s 27(1)(b)(i) is not “confined to information about prior incidents that have a causative effect in relation to the incident alleged by a claimant.”
With respect to the constructions of s 27(1)(b)(i), referencing SDA, the court opined that the word “circumstances” refers to the facts surrounding the act, omission, or circumstance (i.e. what happened). According to the court, the term “reasons for” is properly understood as referring to facts that go to explaining the act, omission, or circumstance that allegedly caused all, or part, of the personal injury (i.e. why it happened).
Applying the “broad remedial construction of s 27(1)(b)(i) adopted in SDA”, the court accepted the applicant’s submissions, opining that the respondent’s criminal history was information about the “reasons for” the incident, insofar as it may serve to explain the act, omission, or circumstance that allegedly caused all, or part, of the personal injury. Further, submissions made in respect of the sentencing hearing would also provide information on the circumstances of the incident.
In light of the above, the court allowed the application, issuing orders compelling the respondent to provide his criminal history and transcripts on sentence, as well as a statutory declaration in compliance with s 27(3) of the PIPA.