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- Unreported Judgment
PPL v Queensland College of Teachers QCAT 364
QUEENSLAND CIVIL AND ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNAL
PPL v Queensland College of Teachers  QCAT 364
queensland college of teachers
Occupational regulation matters
21 November 2019
On the papers
EDUCATION – EDUCATORS – DISCIPLINARY MATTERS – suspension of teacher – where charge for serious offence withdrawn – whether suspension should continue
Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld), Schedule 1 – The Criminal Code, s 315A
Education (Queensland College of Teachers) Act 2005 (Qld), s 48, s 49, s 50, s 53, s 55
Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009 (Qld), s 66
Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000 (Qld), s 167
This matter was heard and determined on the papers pursuant to s 32 of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009 (Qld)
REASONS FOR DECISION
- On 4 July 2019, the Queensland College of Teachers (‘QCT’) suspended the registration of Teacher PPL as a teacher pursuant to s 48 of Education (Queensland College of Teachers) Act 2005 (Qld) (‘the Act’) on the basis that he had been charged with a serious offence. Teacher PPL had been charged with the offence of choking, suffocation or strangulation in a domestic setting pursuant to s 315A(1)(a) and (b)(i) of the Criminal Code. This is a serious offence within the meaning of s 167 of the Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000 (Qld).
- On 30 August 2019, the Tribunal continued the suspension of Teacher PPL’s registration as a teacher. The Tribunal was required to continue the registration unless it was satisfied that the matter was an exceptional case in which the best interests of children would not be harmed if the suspension were ended. The Tribunal was not so satisfied.
- On 27 September 2019, Teacher PPL filed an application to review the Tribunal’s decision pursuant to s 55(6) of the Act.
- The Tribunal has since been provided with the following letter from the Director of Public Prosecutions dated 17 October 2019:
On Monday, 8 July2019 the above named was committed for trial to the District Court at Warwick on a charge of strangulation in a domestic setting (domestic violence offence).
This Office has decided to discontinue proceedings. Please note that our office has advised police that the appropriate charge for the offending was an offence of common assault. It is now a matter for the Queensland Police Service whether your client is charged with that offence and the matter proceed in the Magistrates Court.
- Accordingly, Teacher PPL is no longer charged with a serious offence and there is no basis for his suspension under s 48 of the Act.
- The Tribunal notes that the QCT has a power to suspend teachers under s 49 of the Act if it reasonably believes the teacher poses an unacceptable risk of harm to children. However, for a suspension to take place under s 49 of the Act, the QCT must give a notice setting out the matters specified in s 50(3) of the Act. No such notice has been issued.
- As there is no longer a basis for suspension under s 48 of the Act, and no notice has been issued in respect of a suspension under s 49 of the Act, it follows that I have no alternative but to end Teacher PPL’s suspension.
- Pursuant to s 66(1)(c) of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009 (Qld) (‘the QCAT Act’) the Tribunal can make an order prohibiting the publication of information that may enable a person who has appeared before the Tribunal to be identified. The Tribunal may do so on the application of a party or on its own initiative.
- Both the QCT and Teacher PPL have made submissions in favour of continuing the non-publication order under s 66. As Teacher PPL is not currently charged with an offence, has not yet been committed for trial or convicted of any charge, I am satisfied that it is in the interests of justice to continue the non-publication order.
- I will make the non-publication order with the exceptions sought by the QCT, noting that these were not opposed by Teacher PPL.
- Published Case Name:
Teacher PPL v Queensland College of Teachers
- Shortened Case Name:
PPL v Queensland College of Teachers
 QCAT 364
21 Nov 2019