Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry News and Updates
Probe told of legal bid for shredded papers from Heiner Affair
- by:Michael Madigan
- From:The Courier-Mail
- January 30, 2013 12:00AM
The man who oversaw the shredding of documents central to the Heiner Affair knew they were being sought by lawyers, an inquiry has been told.
Trevor Walsh, a senior executive officer to the then-director-general of the Families Department, Ruth Matchett, has told the Carmody Inquiry into Child Protection the documents were destroyed in the old Families Department building in March 1990.
Mr Walsh said that the documents had to be picked up from the office of Cabinet and transported to the office for shredding.
He also said the office of State Archivist may have intended performing the shredding but didn't have a shredder.
The documents and tapes were collected during the Heiner Inquiry, created by the National Party government in 1989 after allegations of mismanagement at the John Oxley Youth Detention Centre.
After the election of the Goss government the documents were shredded on Crown Law advice amid concerns some of the material may have been defamatory.
Former union organiser and whistleblower Kevin Lindeberg has claimed for 25 years that the documents contained allegations of sexual abuse at the centre, and that successive governments had attempted to cover up those allegations.
Mr Walsh said he knew that the then head of the John Oxley Centre, Peter Coyne, had wanted access to the documents when the shredding took place, and that Mr Coyne's lawyers had requested access to the documents.
"(But) to my knowledge no legal action had been taken," Mr Walsh said.
Mr Walsh also agreed that he was informed after the shredding that it may have been the wrong thing to do and, that the department may be "in trouble".
The inquiry continues today.