Mood was 'toxic' at John Oxley youth detention centre during 'Heiner Affair', Carmody Inquiry hears

A FORMER youth worker at the old John Oxley Youth Detention Centre has denied sexually abusing a former teenage resident.

The question was put to the former youth worker while he participated in a telephone hook up with the Carmody Inquiry into child safety today.

The inquiry has spent the past few weeks examining the quarter-of-a-century-old Heiner controversy which involves the shredding of documents obtained during the 1989 Heiner Inquiry.

There are long standing allegations the documents were shredded to cover up sexual abuse at the John Oxley Youth Detention Centre by the Goss Labor Government shortly after its election in late 1989.

Ian Hanger,QC, for the state of Queensland, asked the former youth worker who resigned from the centre in the early 90s if he had ever sexually abused a teenage female resident alleged to have been assaulted.

"No,'' he replied.

"Why did you resign?'' asked Mr Hanger.

The former youth worker said the entire mood at John Oxley was "toxic'' with staff morale extremely poor.

"It wasn't real pleasant,'' he said. "Morale was very poor I thought.''

A former legal officer in the office of the Crown Solicitor Barry Thomas, who gave the initial advice the documents should be shredded, has also given evidence this week that there was no legal impediment to the Heiner documents being shredded.

Mr Thomas said he was aware the former John Oxley Youth Detention Centre manager Peter Coyne wanted to examine the documents obtained by former Magistrate Noel Heiner in the inquiry established to investigate allegations of mismanagement at John Oxley.

The inquiry also heard letters had been sent to the State Government from Mr Coyne's solicitors in relation to the documents.

But Mr Thomas said because no legal action had begun, it was not believed that it was wrong to shred the documents.

Source : http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/mood-was-toxic-at-john-oxley-youth-detention-centre-during-heiner-affair-carmody-inquiry-hears/story-e6freoof-1226566769186

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