Commissioners Announced For Informants Royal Commission

The Andrews Labor Government has announced a former President of the Queensland Court of Appeal will lead the Victorian Royal Commission into Management of Informants.

Attorney-General Jill Hennessy today announced the appointment of the Honourable Margaret McMurdo AC as the Royal Commission Chair, along with former South Australian Police Commissioner Malcolm Hyde AO APM as a Commissioner.

Justice McMurdo has had a highly distinguished legal career having worked in the Public Defender’s Office (1976-1989) and was admitted as a barrister of the Supreme Court of Queensland in 1989. She was appointed a judge of the District Court of Queensland and the Children’s Court of Queensland (1993-98).

In 1998, Justice McMurdo was appointed President of the Court of Appeal, Supreme Court of Queensland. She was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia (2007) for service to the law and judicial administration in Queensland.

After serving 30 years as a member of Victoria Police, Mr Hyde was appointed Police Commissioner for South Australia Police in 1997. He was reappointed three times before he retired from the role in 2012.

From 2012 to 2013, Mr Hyde was a special adviser to the Victorian Parliament’s Family and Community Development Committee’s Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and other Non-Government Organisations (Betrayal of Trust Inquiry).

Mr Hyde also conducted the Tasmanian Bushfires Inquiry in 2013, inquiring into three major fires in 2013. The Inquiry covered the cause and circumstances of the fires as well as all aspects of the emergency response, including preparation and planning.

Under the Royal Commission’s terms of reference, Justice McMurdo and Mr Hyde will inquire into and report on matters including:

  • the number and extent of cases affected by informant 3838
  • the conduct of current and former members of Victoria Police in the handling and management of 3838
  • the current adequacy and effectiveness of Victoria Police’s processes for recruiting, handling and managing human sources who are subject to legal obligations of confidentiality or privilege
  • the current use of human source information in the criminal justice system from human sources who are subject to legal obligations of confidentiality or privilege
  • the appropriateness of Victoria Police’s practices around the disclosure or non-disclosure of the use of such human sources to prosecuting authorities.

Under the Inquiries Act 2014 the Commission can share information with any body or agency for investigation or action if it considers it relevant or appropriate.

The inquiry will provide an interim report by 1 July 2019 and provide a final report by 1 December 2019.

A full copy of the terms of reference is available at justice.vic.gov.au/informants-royal-commission

 Quotes attributable to Attorney-General Jill Hennessy

“We have appointed two of the most prominent and well-respected minds in the legal and policing fields to lead the Royal Commission and to ensure the justice system is acting fairly and lawfully at all times.”

“This Royal Commission, led by Justice McMurdo and Malcolm Hyde, will ensure we get the answers we need so that something like this can never happen again.”