Parole Board Queensland (PBQ) has lost an appeal against its decision to indefinitely suspend parole for a convicted murderer based on “confidential information” that he posed an unacceptable risk of further criminal offending if released.
The Court of Appeal in Brisbane today dismissed PBQ’s appeal against a Supreme Court judge’s decision in August to set aside the board’s decision to suspend parole and indefinitely jail Allan David McQueen.
McQueen has already served 28 years of a life sentence for the 1994 bashing murder of a prison inmate, and remains a person of interest in a police cold case investigation and coronial inquest over the 1989 Darling Downs death of 15-year-old Annette Mason.
Prior to his murder conviction, McQueen had acquired a significant criminal history for violent offending, including armed robbery, wounding, discharging a firearm causing bodily harm and stealing with threats of violence while armed.
Court of Appeal Justice Peter Flanagan, in an 11-page decision, noted McQueen was originally granted parole and released back into the community in November 2018, but was returned to custody after he committed further offences such as drug driving and breaching a domestic violence order.
The court was told PBQ had also suspended McQueen’s parole on the basis it “possessed confidential information – the disclosure of which was not in the public interest” showing that the convicted-killer posed an unacceptable risk of committing further offences if re-released on parole.
On 24 September 2021, PBQ notified McQueen his parole had been revoked indefinitely for numerous reasons, including a history of violent offending and “intelligence reports raising various concerns about your risk to community safety” if granted release.
In August 2022, McQueen successfully challenged PBQ’s decision in the Brisbane Supreme Court.
Justice Susan Brown found the board’s decision did not meet the legal requirements necessary to indefinitely suspend McQueen’s parole – thereby denying him procedural fairness – and the error of relying on “confidential information” to do so.
Justice Brown said: “In circumstances where a prisoner has to show cause and provide submissions in response, the information notice did not disclose adequate reasons, material findings of fact or evidence or material relied upon as required in the information notice to allow the prisoner to meaningfully respond.”
PBQ appealed Justice Brown’s decision, arguing it had a discretion to not release “confidential information” as part of its decision to indefinitely suspend McQueen’s parole under the Corrective Services Act 2006.
However, the COA – comprising Justices Flanagan, Philip McMurdo and Paul Freeburn – dismissed PBQ’s appeal.
The decision means PBQ will be required to reconsider its position on whether McQueen should be released.
The court also ordered the board pay McQueen’s legal costs.
Read the decision.