Australia –– A parliamentary committee has decided not to recall the Police Commissioner to give evidence despite believing he may have misled it.
The Corruption and Crime Commission has found Karl O’Callaghan should have told the committee about phone conversations he had with then-assistant commissioner Wayne Gregson on the day of the Perth Hills bushfire.
However, the CCC found no evidence of misconduct, saying Mr O’Callaghan was not obliged to do so.
The CCC looked at when the Police Commissioner was alerted to the seriousness of the blaze which destroyed 71 homes.
It revealed conflicting evidence between him and Wayne Gregson, who says he alerted Mr O’Callaghan to the seriousness of the blaze two hours before the commissioner says he found out.
In explaining that difference, Mr O’Callaghan told the CCC that ambient noise and windy conditions at the cricket match he was watching may have prevented him from hearing the information.
The parliamentary committee chairman Tony O’Gorman says it is possible the commissioner misled the committee but no action will be taken.
He says Mr O’Callaghan will not be recalled because the inquiry has finished.
But, Mr O’Gorman says it raises concerns about the evidence given.
“It may be contempt of parliament if you don’t give the full information and that’s a concern,” he said.
“We like to get to the bottom of those issues we’re investigating into so that we can get proper findings and give proper recommendations to parliament that they can act on.”
The committee also says the Corruption and Crime Commission overstepped its mark by looking into evidence provided to it during a bushfire inquiry.
Mr O’Gorman says the CCC does not have the power to examine its operations.
“All committees of parliament are covered by parliamentary privilege and no outside organisations can actually inquire into the committees in parliament,” he said.
“It’s not necessary that they look at that evidence, we’ve raised that and we’ve sent a letter to the Speaker asking him to clarify that and asking him to clarify that with the CCC.”
The CCC says it addressed the matter in its report on Mr O’Callaghan.
It says it is able to look into the matter because deliberately giving false evidence to a parliamentary committee is an offence under the Criminal Code.