What is the Crime and Corruption Commission?
It is an agency that investigates complaints about the corrupt practices of both the public officials and the police. How do they do this? Well, they monitor complaints against the officials or the police and carry out investigations if they are deemed important. So, even if the original complaint is made to the Police, the CCC can still investigate such claims.
However, the CCC can only investigate and not punish. They are like an intelligence body of the State for erring public officials, organised crime, terrorist activities, and other serious crimes that they either discover or are referred to them.
What is the objective of the Crime and Corruption Commission?
The following are some of the things that the CCC aims to achieve:
- Work with public sector agencies in fighting corruption and other forms of misconduct
- Investigate referred serious crimes, pedophilia, organised crime, and terrorist activities
- Help in the recovery of properties and possessions involved in crimes against the Australian people
- Conduct crime research whilst monitoring and policing the public
- Examine cases of possible misconduct that is of a serious nature
- Provide protection for state witnesses
Aside from these, the CCC also helps prevent major crimes and misconduct through four ways. First, it can report on ways to prevent major crime and misconduct. Second, it can analyse the systems used in public organizations. Third, it makes recommendations based on the findings by the public sector. Fourth, it analyses the results of investigations.
What is the scope of the Crime and Corruption Commission’s power?
There are eight areas where the CCC can exercise their power. These are:
- Politicians, both state and local (if corrupt practice is proven to be a criminal offence)
- Courts, tribunals, and boards (including jurisdiction over judicial officers acting as members of decision-making bodies in UPAs)
- Government-owned corporations
- Departments and statutory bodies
- Local governments
- Police Service
Moreover, the CCC can investigate any individual whose conduct affects the public official’s performance in a negative way, such that it is defined as corrupt conduct.
Who checks the Crime and Corruption Commission?
First and foremost, the committee receives public scrutiny through the media. It is also checked by the Parliamentary Crime and Corruption Committee (PCCC), Supreme Court, Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner, and the Public Interest Monitor.
What if you are the individual being complained?
First, you should get legal advice. Once the CCC contacts you to hear your side of the story, talk to a legal counsel before you even utter a word to them. It’s a general rule and precaution that you should follow.
What happens if the CCC finds proof of misconduct?
The CCC only investigates and recommends; it cannot punish nor declare anyone guilty of any crime. We have the Courts to do that. However, although the CCC can’t discipline any individual for misconduct, it makes recommendations on the course of action a Court should take on the public official or organisation.
The things that the CCC can push for a resolution are: for the public official’s employer to discipline them; for an organisation to change its processes; and for a public employee to be punished for a crime.
What if you are called as a witness by the Crime and Corruption Commission?
Since the CCC has the power to conduct ‘coercive hearings’, the witness must cooperate, as failure to do so would be considered an offence. In particular, refusal to do the following would be considered an offence: taking an oath; producing documents or other materials when requested; and answering questions.
The courts will decide the imprisonment term for the first offence. A second offence that deals with the same subject matter will lead to imprisonment of at least 2 years and 6 months whilst the minimum imprisonment length for any other subsequent offence that deals with the same subject matter is a minimum of five years.
In this regard, before you take the witness stand, it is best for you to first get legal advice or a legal representative.
Keep in mind that you have the right to legal representation every time they call on you as a witness. Moreover, if you need an interpreter, you can have one, and if you need protection, they will gladly provide it for you.
How is the CCC informed of suspected corrupt conduct or police misconduct?
The members of the public, as well as the public officials, are the CCC’s primary source of information on suspected corrupt conduct or police misconduct. They are the ones who fill up the online complaint, who go to the police station to complain, or who call the CCC hotline to give tips. These also include the top officials of public offices whose duty includes reporting any suspicious conduct that may be happening in their organisation.
In addition, other sources of information include the regular audits by the CCC, the Crime Stoppers, CCC’s own intel, media articles, and others. Sometimes, such subjects are referred to during legal proceedings, public inquiries, or by the Coroner.
The State creates laws to protect itself. It also has public officials and officers to protect it. However, it also needs protection from corrupt officials and the various forms of misconduct that might ruin it.
The CCC keeps an eye on public servants’ every move and investigates any irregularity in the performance of their duties. If you find yourself involved in a Crime and Corruption Commission investigation in any capacity, be sure to get legal advice first.
For in-depth legal advice regarding the Crime and Corruption Commission, please contact our team today.