The Queensland Police Union has achieved another significant win against the Commissioner of Police in the Supreme Court by winning a Judicial Review and protecting the rights of police.
The Judge was clear in his criticism saying the actions by the Commissioner of Police were unintelligible, legally unreasonable and did not follow procedural fairness.
The brief circumstances of this case are the Queensland Police Service advertised two vacant Officer In Charge positions at both Brisbane City Station and Hendra Station in the same promotional process/advertisement.
Sergeant Natasha Anthony finished first on merit and accepted the position of OIC Brisbane City Station whilst another suitable applicant, ranked lower than Sgt Anthony was offered Hendra Station. A review was conducted by the Review Commissioner in regards to Sgt Anthony’s position only.
The Review Commissioner identified a generic flaw with the process which applied to all applicants equally and surprisingly recommended Sgt Anthony‘s appointment be set aside.
The Review Commissioner’s recommendation is not binding upon the Commissioner of Police. The Commissioner of Police is then tasked to come to a fair and just outcome when deciding to follow or not follow the recommendation.
The Commissioner of Police surprisingly determined it was ‘fair and just’ to set aside Sgt Anthony’s appointment despite the same process being adopted to successfully fill the Hendra OIC position. It seemed apparent to the QPU the only ‘fair and just’ decision the Commissioner of Police could make was to not follow the recommendation and confirm Sgt Anthony’s appointment as OIC of Brisbane City Station.
In May 2022 the QPU’s Judicial Review for Sergeant Anthony, of the Commissioner of Police’s decision was heard before Justice Callaghan in the Brisbane Supreme Court.
The QPU was ably assisted in supporting Sgt Anthony, by Gnech and Associates Gnech and Associates, solicitors, and Matt Black of Counsel.
Justice Callaghan ruled the CoP’s decision was unintelligible and therefore legally unreasonable. Justice Callaghan set aside the decision of the Commissioner of Police.
Justice Callaghan has now directed the Commissioner of Police to appoint Sergeant Anthony to the position of OIC Brisbane City Station.
It is disappointing the QPU had to spend $50,000 to achieve this common sense outcome to support Sgt Anthony and all police at Brisbane City Station however we at the QPU will always do this for members to ensure their industrial rights. Luckily costs have been awarded against the Commissioner of Police and the QPU should recoup some outlays.
It was great to see common sense prevail and Sgt Anthony will now become Snr Sgt Anthony, Officer In Charge of Brisbane City Station.