Commissions

Principal Solicitor Christian Hearn worked as a prosecutor with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for a number of years. During this time, he worked within the Special Crime unit also known as Group 6. This unit is responsible for prosecuting police officers, politicians and other high profile criminal cases including many that arise from investigations carried out by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) and the Police Integrity Commission (PIC).

While working in Group 6, Christian routinely provided highly technical legal advice to PIC and ICAC. He also appeared in Court to prosecute numerous high profile matters arising out of their investigations. As a result, he developed a broad and detailed knowledge of the relevant procedures and law.
 

If you have been called to give evidence before ICAC, PIC or any other commission, or have been charged with any offences arising out of a commission investigation you need a representative with experience in this area. From working on numerous commission prosecutions Christian has a set of skills that he can employ in the defence of your rights and reputation. 

INDEPENDENT COMMISSION
AGAINST CORRUPTION (ICAC)

ICAC was established in 1988 in response to community concern regarding the integrity of the public service of NSW. Its purpose is to promote integrity and accountability in the public service by:
 

  1. investigating, exposing and preventing corruption involving or affecting public authorities and public officials, and

  2. educating public authorities, public officials and members of the public about corruption and its detrimental effects on public administration and on the community
     

ICAC does not prosecute crime, but rather holds investigations which seek to expose corrupt conduct. It has the power to issue you with a summons, which is a document imposing a legal obligation on you to attend to give evidence or produce documents. If you are summonsed and forced to give evidence against your will, what you say usually cannot be used against you in criminal proceedings; however certain steps need to be taken in order to make sure this is the case. If you give false or misleading evidence, or refuse to give evidence you can face criminal charges based on the evidence you gave.
 

At the end of an investigation ICAC can forward the evidence it has collated to the DPP. The DPP will then provide advice on whether there is sufficient evidence to charge any person with a criminal offence. If the DPP is of the view that the evidence is sufficient, it then takes over and conducts the prosecution in the Local or District Court.
 

If you are summonsed to ICAC you should tell no-one and immediately contact a lawyer with experience in this area. If you have been charged with an offence arising out of an ICAC investigation, it is likewise essential that you speak to someone with experince dealing with these matters. It is a highly technical area of law which is changing regularly.

POLICE INTEGRITY
COMMISSION (PIC)

PIC was established in 1996 following the Royal Commission into the NSW Police Service (Woods Royal Commission). Its principal function is to detect, investigate and prevent police corruption and other serious misconduct by police officers and police employees. As a corruption / misconduct commission it is completely separate and independent of the NSW Police Force.
 

Proceedings in most judicial forums take place after an investigation. However, PIC hearings are part the investigation process. Like ICAC you can be compelled by summons to attend and give evidence or produce documents and it is a criminal offence to refuse. This essentially means that the right to silence does not exist in this context; however, generally speaking provided you tell the truth, what you tell the Commission cannot be used against you in criminal proceedings. Certain steps need to be taken in order to ensure this is the case.
 

If you are summonsed to PIC you should tell no-one and immediately contact a lawyer with experience in this area. If you have been charged with an offence arising out of a PIC investigation, it is likewise essential that you speak to someone with experince dealing with these matters. It is a highly technical area of law which is changing regularly.

© Hearn Legal 2016

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Christian Hearn

Principal Solicitor


christian@hearnlegal.com.au

PO Box 37
Gosford, NSW 2250