Gavel, scales of justice and law books
Gavel, scales of justice and law books

Teacher wants Blue Card back after alleged DV, child sex

A FORMER Rockhampton teacher has won a three-year battle to have his Blue Card reinstated.

In a decision handed down, Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal last week stated the man's Blue Card was cancelled after the applicant was charged in August 2017 with indecent treatment of his own daughter, under the age of 12, but the charge was withdrawn.

The document, written by QCAT member John Milburn, states the charge was laid from an allegation that was vexatiously and maliciously.

"The applicant was alleged to have sexually assaulted his daughter while a family photograph was being taken," Mr Milburn wrote.

"The applicant denied the allegations, which were made during his marital breakdown, as vexatious and malicious. The applicant's wife concurred the allegations were vexatious and malicious."

The applicant did not see one of his children for three months and the other for 12 months as a result of the allegation.

People convicted of disqualifying offences, such as indecent treatment of a child, cannot apply for a Blue Card, but the applicant was charged, not convicted.

The charge was dismissed before going to trial.

The applicant had domestic violence allegations but no convictions recorded, which triggered Blue Card Services (BCS) issuing a negative notice to the applicant on June 10, 2019.

The incident involved the applicant flipping a coffee table and yelling.

BCS stated: "the applicant's history of domestic violence raises serious concerns about his ability and willingness to resolve conflict in a calm and controlled manner. Such skills are particularly important when working with children, as children are entirely reliant on adults around them to provide a safe and protective environment and act as appropriate role models."

However, Mr Milburn said there was no evidence of a domestic violence protection order being in place prior to the allegations of indecent treatment of a child and only a temporary protection order was made after the coffee table incident.

The BCS decision was also based on reports to the Child Safety department, which received four reports from the applicant's ex-wife after the coffee table incident and a safety assessment by the department on September 6, 2018, observed "no signs of immediate harm" to the children and concluded they were safe.

The department did a family risk evaluation on September 25, 2019, and assessed the risk as low.

The next day, the department concluded further departmental intervention was not required for the family.

The next month, the department wrote to the applicant advising assessment had been completed and the outcome was "unsubstantiated" with the child not in need of protection.

A letter from the applicant's psychologist, who he had seen since 2011, stated: "he is not a violent person and his charges of domestic violence could be related to transient relationship issues rather than fundamental character flaws or personality issues".

At the time the psychologist wrote the letter in January 2020, the applicant had 56 per cent custody of the children.

The applicant, who worked as a teacher for 15 years before retiring due to medical problems, sought a Blue Card to participate in community work by volunteering at a primary school.

Defence lawyer Rowan King, who represented the applicant, said his client could now move on with his life.

"Many people who come and see me say it is too hard and give up," MR King said.

"The allegations against my client were clearly vexatious and malicious to advance the wife's position with custody arrangements.

"That was unfortunately enough to have his Blue Card revoked.

"All the allegations against him have now been finalised."

Mr King said the Blue Card system was concerning because recently 8000 rural firefighters were stood down over their Blue Card issues.

"If anyone has been refused a Blue Card due to uncharged or dismissed allegations, they seriously need to consider an appeal," he said.

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