Crime and Corruption Watchdog Chairman Resigns One Month After Damning Report

By Caden Pearson
Caden Pearson
Caden Pearson
Caden Pearson is a reporter based in Australia. Contact him on
January 25, 2022Updated: January 25, 2022

Alan MacSporran has resigned as the chair of Queensland’s Crime, and Corruption Commission (CCC) after a damning report released in December made his role “untenable.”

MacSporran, who was a Queen’s Counsel and criminal barrister for four decades before joining the Australian state’s corruption watchdog, said he wrote to Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath, tendering his resignation effective Jan. 28.

In a statement on Jan. 15, he said he found himself in a position where his honesty and integrity had been questioned for the first time in his 40 year career.

“It is clear to me that the relationship between myself and the PCCC has broken down irretrievably,” MacSporran said. “This saddens me deeply.”

In early December 2021, the bipartisan Parliamentary Crime and Corruption Committee (PCCC) handed down a report that found the watchdog did not act “independently and impartially” in laying fraud charges against the former mayor and councillors of the City of Logan.

The Logan councillors were charged with fraud in 2019, but prosecutors later withdrew the charges due to a lack of evidence, after which the Local Government Association of Queensland lodged a complaint against the corruption watchdog.

Meanwhile, MacSporran said he had “never, ever let extraneous irrelevant considerations” enter his thinking about a decision relating to “the proper exercising of powers in proceedings as a Queen’s Counsel criminal barrister or as CCC Chairperson.”

“Investigating corruption and major crime is inherently complex,” he said. “Those who are the subject of allegations and subsequent investigations can be persons with a high public profile. They frequently hold positions of power, and the consequences of charges, let alone conviction, can be particularly grave.”

MacSporran said that both he and all of the watchdog’s officers understood this, but that the Queensland community “rightly expects the CCC to do its statutory job,” which involved making “very complex, tough, and independent” decisions as an investigative agency.

“As Chairperson, I was willing to make, and support my staff making, those independent decisions,” he said.

MacSporran said the top job at the corruption watchdog was challenging but that he was privileged to have led it.

“The CCC is greater than the sum of its parts, and I wish the agency every success in the future while it continues its essential role of combating major crime and reducing corruption for the benefit of all Queenslanders,” he said.

Queensland Liberal-National Party Opposition Leader David Crisafulli welcomed the decision while taking a swipe at Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who had not publicly stated whether MacSporran still had her support after the report was released.

“The LNP said the position of the CCC chair was untenable following the damning PCCC report,” he said on Twitter. “The Premier refused to do the same. Alan MacSporran has shown the integrity that the Premier could not.”

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