Mr X and Defence Forces

CourtInformation Commission
JudgeSenior Investigator
Judgment Date11 April 2022
Case OutcomeThe Senior Investigator annulled the decision of the Defence Forces and directed it to undertake a fresh decision making process on the matter.
RespondentDefence Forces
Record NumberOIC-119546-G0Z1N0
Whether the Defence Forces was justified in refusing, under section 37(3) of the FOI Act, an application for a statement of the reasons why the applicant was referred to a consultant psychiatrist and for records relating to the referral

11 April 2022

Background

On 10 November 2021, the applicant submitted a request to the Defence Forces for

(i) The reasons and decisions why a named doctor referred the applicant to the Defence Forces Consultant Psychiatrist
(ii) Any information/emails or handwritten notes relating to him on this matter

On 7 December 2021, the Defence Forces purported to part grant the request. It released an email thread with some information redacted under section 37(1) of the Act. However, it did not provide a statement of reasons. The email thread released was created after receipt of the applicant’s FOI request and is a copy of internal correspondence between the Air Corp Front Line Decision Maker (FLDM) and headquarters FOI Unit discussing the FOI request. The information redacted is a personal mobile number belonging to a staff member.

On 23 December 2021, the applicant sought an internal review of that decision. On 24 January 2022, the Defence Forces varied its decision and purported to grant the request. It said arrangements would be made for the applicant to be furnished with the information sought in accordance with section 37(4) of the Act. However, no information or records were provided to the applicant. On 22 February 2022, the applicant sought a review by this Office of the decision of the Defence Forces.

Our review of the decision of the Defence Forces in respect of the application for a statement of reasons was processed under file reference OIC-119911, while our review of the decision on the request for records was processed under file reference OIC-119546. Having regard to the submissions made by the Defence Forces on the cases, I have decided to issue a composite decision covering both matters.

I have now completed my review in accordance with section 22(2) of the FOI Act. In carrying out my review, I have had regard to the correspondence between the parties as outlined above and to the correspondence between this Office and both parties on the matter.

Scope of Review

This review is concerned with whether the Defence Forces was justified in refusing to provide, under section 37(3) of the FOI Act, a statement of the reasons why the applicant was referred to a consultant psychiatrist and related records.

Preliminary Matters

In his application to this Office, the applicant raised concerns about the manner of his treatment by the Defence Forces doctor in question...

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