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Outcome of investigation into complaint from SSC

Outcome of investigation into complaint from the State Services Commission

Attribute to Assistant Commissioner (Investigations) Richard Chambers:

A Police investigation into a complaint made by the State Services Commissioner in December 2018 has been completed.

The complaint centred around allegations that employees of Thompson and Clark Investigations Limited had attended and unlawfully recorded closed meetings intended for Southern Response Earthquake Services claimants.

The complaint alleged actions could amount to offending under:

i) The Private Security Personnel and Private Investigators Act 2010
ii) s216B of the Crimes Act 1961.

Matters relating to the Private Security Personnel and Private Investigators Act 2010 were investigated by the Private Security Personnel Licensing Authority, which has the legislated responsibility and jurisdiction under this legislation.

The Authority investigation found that TCIL did not breach the Private Security Personnel and Private Investigators Act 2010, nor was it guilty of misconduct.

Police investigated issues relating to the Crimes Act 1961.

The Police investigation included:

- A review of documents provided by the Private Security Personnel Licensing Authority
- A review of documents and recording provided by the State Services Commission
- A review of information gathered during the 2018 Police investigation into use of external security consultants
- Police interview of the contractor who attended and recorded some of the meetings at the centre of the complaint.

After thorough consideration of all the information available to the investigation team, police have determined that there was no evidence found of criminal offending or unlawful conduct of any nature.

In particular, the recording of meeting proceedings by the TCIL contractor did not constitute the unlawful interception of private communications for the following reasons:

• The conversations recorded by the contractor were not ‘private’ within the meaning of the Crimes Act, as there was no reasonable expectation of privacy by any party, and accordingly the knowledge or consent of any other meeting participant was not required;
• The contractor was a party to any communications during the meetings, as they were a member of the audience at those meetings and had paid for a ticket to attend in the same way as other participants;
• The contractor did not use any fictitious identity whilst attending meetings;
• Any recordings made by the contractor were for the purpose of an ‘aide memoire’ to assist the preparation of a report, and were not provided either to the contractor’s employer, or to Southern Response Earthquake Services;
• The audio recordings that were made were recorded openly using a visible cellphone on the contractor’s lap, in circumstances where other participants were also recording the meeting, and no copies were made by the contractor;
• No evidence was found that any other private conversations were recorded, either intentionally or inadvertently.

The State Services Commissioner has been advised of the outcome of the investigation.

END

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