What the law says
Section 17 of the Coroners Act, Queensland states:
(5) A person who has been given access to confidential information by a Coroners Court, including information in a document, must not directly or indirectly disclose the information-
(a) other than for the inquest; or
(b) unless the disclosure is permitted or required under this or another Act.
What the police must prove
In order for the Police to prove their case at Court, they must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The accused was given access to confidential information by a Coroner’s Court; AND
- The accused disclosed that information either directly or indirectly;AND
- The purpose of the disclosure was not for the Inquest; AND
- Disclosure was not permitted or required under the Coroners Act or any other Act.
It will be necessary for the Police in every offence to prove that the accused was the person who committed the offence. Click here to learn more about identification evidence.
Maximum penalty – 100 penalty units or 2 years imprisonment.
Penalty unit = $100.00
Which court will hear the matter
Under section 3(5) of the Criminal Code Act Queensland this offence is classed a simple offence and therefore may be heard in the Magistrates Court pursuant to section 19 of the Justices Act Queensland.
Possible defences to this offence include, but are not limited to:
- You were not given access to information by the Coroner’s Court.
- The information you were given access to, was not confidential.
- You did not in fact disclose any confidential information.
- The purpose of the disclosure of the confidential information was for the Inquest.
- The disclosure was permitted or required under the Coroner’s Act or some other Act.
- Duress – example: there was a threat of harm to the accused or another person that the accused reasonably believe would be carried out if he/she did not do the acts that constituted the offence.
- Identification i.e. the accused was not the discloser.