CMC claims confidential documents error is fixed

A SOLICITOR for Queensland's crime and corruption watchdog has denied any fault in the declassification of confidential Fitzgerald Inquiry documents, claiming a Crime and Misconduct Commission employee had assured her the mistake had been fixed.

The Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Committee is investigating how a series of sensitive documents from the 80's corruption inquiry was released for public access in the State Archives.

The error came to light last May but was not properly addressed until last September.

Official solicitor to the Crime and Misconduct Commission, Sidonie Wood, said the CMC's director of information management, Peter Duell, "assured" her the documents' restricted access period had been changed following the mistake.

The sensitive documents had a restricted period placed on them of 65 years, which was changed to 20 years resulting in some of the material's release.

A letter shown to Ms Wood outlined Mr Duell, who initially declassified the secretive material, reclassified the RAP on the material from 20 years back to 65 years last May.

It was reported earlier this month that sensitive records - including names of informants and details of undercover operations - were still available for public access at the State Archives.

Ms Wood told a PCMC hearing on Wednesday she had no reason to doubt Mr Duell.

"He was competent and diligent and he had a good grasp of it," she said.

But counsel assisting the PCMC, Kerri Mellifont SC, said it was Ms Wood's responsibility to check the changes were made.

"He (Mr Duell) told me it had been fixed and I accepted that," Ms Wood replied.

Ms Mellifont said that was despite Mr Duell ordering the declassification in the first place.

"There was nothing at all to prevent you from taking other steps to check it?" Ms Mellifont asked.

"I was tasked to do a certain role and I was satisfied he changed the RAP of specific material," Ms Wood said.

Mr Duell told the PCMC last week material not suitable for release was mistakenly classified as documents suitable for public access.

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