A Darling Downs mum with a “very significant criminal history” has won an application to overturn a decision that banned her from coaching and managing her two daughters’ junior AFL teams.
The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal, in a recently published finding, set aside a decision by the Director-General of Queensland’s Department of Justice and Attorney-General that prevented the mother from obtaining a blue card, which would have entitled her to legally supervise children.
The tribunal was told that the 42-year-old woman, who Proctor has opted to identify only as ‘NE’, had a significant history of drug and property offences over a 12-year period, but had abstained from drug use since 2013.
QCAT member Michael Wood, in his eight-page written decision, said NE had been “actively involved in the coaching and managing” of child AFL teams until the DJAG Director-General issued a ‘negative notice’ under the Working With Children (Risk Management and Screen Act) 2000.
“(NE) is aware that the negative notice (preventing her from holding a blue card) was issued as a result of her criminal record and drug-use history,” Mr Wood said.
“(She) has a very significant criminal history, comprising a total of 31 criminal offences…spanning a period from 2003 until 2015. The criminal history consists primarily of drug offences (but) there are also offences of stealing involving a motor vehicle and ‘dealing’ of drugs…with intent to sell or supply (amphetamine).”
However, the tribunal heard testimony from NE and a number of family, friends and AFL club officials who supported her claims she had been drug free for the past nine years and should not be further prevented from obtaining a blue card.
Representatives for DJAG argued the “exceptional” circumstances – being her extensive criminal history – cited in the issuing of a negative notice remained and that NE’s case was “not exceptional”.
Mr Wood disagreed, saying: “It is my view that this is not an exceptional case in which it would not be in the best interests of children and young people for a blue card to be issued to (NE).
“The fact that a person has significant criminal history, even a history of offences as concerning as those shown of (NE’s) history, does not itself mean that this is an exceptional case.
“I am satisfied that (NE) now has protective factors as a result of changes which she has made two her own lifestyle…(and) that this is not an exceptional case.”
The full decision is available online.