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New ICAC Reviewer appointed as Duggan resigns

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The retired judge hired to provide independent oversight of the state’s ICAC has quit, with the State Government moving quickly to appoint a replacement.

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Retired Supreme Court Justice Kevin Duggan QC will stand down next week, with Attorney-General Vickie Chapman saying he had resigned “to enable him to focus on his independent review of policing in South Australia”.

He was appointed to that review in July last year and commenced work in October to look at overhauling criminal laws that police believe unnecessarily “tie up resources”.

Duggan was appointed as the state’s first ICAC Reviewer in 2014. In a subsequent review of the Independent Commission Against Corruption’s he noted there was no avenue for complaints about the public integrity watchdog.

Fellow retired Supreme Court Judge John Sulan QC will take over as the new ICAC Reviewer, with Chapman saying in a statement that the body “in providing independent oversight of the ICAC and the Office for Public Integrity, is critical for maintaining public confidence in the operations of those agencies”.

“We have sought to move quickly to ensure this important role can be maintained following Mr Duggan’s departure,” she said.

“John Sulan has had a distinguished legal career spanning nearly five decades. In that time, he has worked as a prosecutor both locally and overseas; was a Special Investigator into the collapse of the Bond Corporation as well as, of course, sitting on our Supreme Court until his retirement in 2016.

“These skills make him eminently qualified to take on the role of ICAC Reviewer – where he will be required to look into the operations of the ICAC and the Office of Public Integrity, by way of regular and comprehensive reporting requirements both to me and Parliament’s Crime and Public Integrity Policy Committee, and also as a result of complaints.”

He will begin a three-year term next week.

It comes just days after the Supreme Court overturned a Magistrate’s Court ruling that the ICAC had issued unlawful and invalid search warrants in a case against a former public servant .

The original ruling, by magistrate David McLeod, prompted Labor MP and member of parliament’s Public Integrity Committee Tom Koutsantonis to move that the matter be referred to the ICAC Reviewer.

That motion was not considered pending the outcome of the appeal, and will now be withdrawn.

In December, Duggan fronted the committee and recommended the appointment of an Acting Reviewer who could step in when he was away or had a conflict of interest.

“If I’m away from the country… or if I have a conflict of interest in relation, for example, to a complaint that is made to me – and that could easily arise in the place the size of Adelaide – there is no-one else who can take my place,” he said at the time.

“It’s unfortunate that that is the case because people who make complaints want an immediate response, and that’s fair enough, even if they get a recognition saying that the matter is being investigated.

“Every other state has somebody who can act in the position, in the role of the reviewer.”

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