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- Unreported Judgment
Harris v Chief Executive Officer, Public Safety Business Agency  QCAT 25
Chief Executive Officer, Public Safety Business Agency
10 December 2015
2 February 2016
Blue Card – serious offences – where applicant did not attend hearing – where applicant provided very little evidence – where decision to issue a negative notice is confirmed.
Mr Harris did not attend the hearing
Ms Kylie Heath represented the respondent
REASONS FOR DECISION
- Mr Harris’s application for a Blue Card was refused by the respondent on 4 March 2015. Mr Harris applied to QCAT to review that decision. He wishes to use the Blue Card to work installing playground equipment in kindergartens and day care centres.
- This matter was initially listed for hearing on 24 July 2015. Mr Harris requested an adjournment so that he could obtain further evidence to support his application. An adjournment was granted and the hearing was relisted for 26 August 2015.
- On 26 August 2015 Mr Harris requested a further adjournment, advising that he had thought that the hearing was in September. A further adjournment was granted and the hearing was relisted for 10 December 2015. Mr Harris was advised of the time and date of the hearing by directions issued on 26 August 2015, and by a Notice of Hearing dated 18 November 2015.
- Mr Harris did not lodge any further evidence and did not respond when QCAT staff attempted to contact him. He did not attend the hearing and was not contactable by telephone at the time the hearing was scheduled. I am satisfied that Mr Harris has been provided with ample opportunity to present his case and I will proceed to determine the application on the evidence available to me.
- Mr Harris has a criminal history. He was convicted of armed robbery and recklessly causing serious injury in relation to incidents on 15 October 2005, and also in relation to a separate incident on 1 November 2005.
- Although no conviction was recorded by the Court, the matters amount to “convictions” as defined in the legislation. The armed robbery offences are “serious” as that term is defined, and a Blue Card will not be issued unless I am satisfied that this is an exceptional case in which it would not harm the best interests of children for Mr Harris to be issued with a Blue Card. I must also take into account the other offences of recklessly causing serious injury.
- In determining whether this is an exceptional case in which it would not harm the best interests of children for Mr Harris to be issued with a Blue Card, I must decide the issue on the balance of probabilities. Neither party bears the onus of proof.
- The offences which occurred on 15 October 2005 involved Mr Harris and a group of co-offenders assaulting two victims with a baseball bat and knives. Both victims required surgery as a result of their wounds. The offences which occurred on 1 November involved Mr Harris and co-offenders attacking a pizza delivery driver by hitting him on the head with a shifter.
- Mr Harris has provided very little evidence. He says that shortly after school he and his friends ‘used to listen to rap music and think we were pretty tough’. He says that they started to spend time with an American who was about 23 years old and found themselves in trouble shortly after. Mr Harris states ‘I will never forget the incidents and they are extremely embarrassing for me to talk about, although I never hurt anybody I should have been smart enough to stop the incidents from happening and I hadn’t realised the seriousness of what was going on at the time.’
- I note that Mr Harris was quite young (only 17) at the time of the offences and he has no subsequent criminal history. Mr Harris says that he ‘wasn’t involved in any of the assaulting’ but there is no further explanation of Mr Harris’s role in the crimes.
- Mr Harris provided a number of glowing written personal references. His referees describe him as hardworking, reliable, and kind hearted. Unfortunately none of his referees provided oral evidence to the Tribunal, and their evidence was not able to be tested or expanded on.
- Mr Harris’s application must be rejected unless I am satisfied that this is an exceptional case in which it would not harm the best interests of children for a Blue Card to be issued. There is simply insufficient evidence for me to be satisfied. The application is unsuccessful.
- Published Case Name:
Joel Harris v Chief Executive Officer, Public Safety Business Agency
- Shortened Case Name:
Harris v Chief Executive Officer, Public Safety Business Agency
 QCAT 25
02 Feb 2016