According to the Queensland Office of Fair Trading (OFT), a private investigator in Queensland has lost his bid to have his license reinstated after he was caught using information supplied illegally by two Queensland Police detectives and which was obtained from a police computer system. The OFT refused to renew the private investigator’s license after being advised the person in question had been convicted of several counts of computer hacking and misuse under Chapter 37 of the Queensland Criminal Code.
The private investigator illegally gained access to car registration details, addresses, phone numbers, criminal histories, domestic violence histories and physical descriptions. The private investigator failed to notify the chief executive of the OFT of these prior convictions, as required by law. The private investigator was sentenced by a Magistrates Court to 18 months’ probation and 240 hours of community service with no conviction recorded.
The OFT’s decision to refuse the licence renewal was appealed by the private investigator in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT). QCAT confirmed the OFT’s decision, stating: ‘It was contrary to the public interest to send a message to the security industry that a private investigator who used contacts in that way could continue to work without interruption’.
The two detectives who procured the information have lost their jobs with the Queensland Police Service. The OFT will continue to pursue private investigators who undermine the integrity of the industry by illegally obtaining information under the guise of their private investigator role.
More information on breaches and penalties in the security industry can be found on the OFT website.