Update on Private D case
23 June 2011
The Australian Defence Force Investigative Service (ADFIS) has completed an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Private D.
Private D was found unconscious in his room in Tarin Kot, Afghanistan, on 28 May 2010.
ADFIS has provided a Brief of Evidence to the Director of Military Prosecutions.
ADFIS has also completed further follow-up inquiries requested by the Director of Military Prosecutions in late May 2011.
After considering the Brief of Evidence and the results of the follow-up inquiries, the Director of Military Prosecutions referred the matter to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions this month. The matter is currently under consideration by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.
Separately, the scoping inquiry for the proposed Commission of Inquiry into the circumstances surrounding Private D and the ADF’s Prohibited Substance Testing Program (PSTP) in the Middle East Area of Operations has been completed. Scoping inquiries are conducted to identify the principal lines of inquiry to be pursued by any subsequent Commission of Inquiry.
The Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, said the scoping inquiry in this case had identified a number of issues where proceeding with a Commission of Inquiry might adversely affect concurrent civil and disciplinary processes.
“After considering the findings of the scoping study and having received independent legal advice, I have determined that a Commission of Inquiry into the specific incident involving Private D is unlikely to provide any additional information over and above that already obtained by the scoping inquiry or the investigation completed by ADFIS. A Commission of Inquiry, therefore, will not be proceeded with,” Air Chief Marshal Houston said.
“I have, however, requested the Inspector General of the Australian Defence Force (IGADF) to conduct an audit of the ADF’s PSTP.
The IGADF last reviewed the program in 2007/2008.
“Given a number of years have passed since the last review, the IGADF is conducting a comprehensive audit of our current PSTP. The audit underway will assess the enhancements made to the PSTP after the last review and the effectiveness of the current PSTP as it operates in the Middle East Area of Operations,” Air Chief Marshal Houston said.
“It is vital that we know with certainty that the current PSTP is achieving its objectives of deterring prohibited drug use and identifying any member who is endangering their safety or the safety of others through prohibited drug use.
“The IGADF audit of the PSTP will provide an independent assessment of the effectiveness of the program without the risk of compromising any civil or disciplinary processes arising from the incident involving Private D.”
The IGADF will provide a report on the audit of the PSTP to the Chief of the Defence Force. Once the report has been received and considered, the report, or parts of the report, may be publicly released subject to considerations of privacy and security.
The ADF has a policy of zero tolerance for prohibited substance use including illegal drugs or the illegal use of prescribed or over-the-counter drugs.
The ADF’s PSTP is conducted in accordance with the appropriate Australian/New Zealand Standards and tests for the following five drug classes: Benzodiazepines, Cocaine, Methylamphetamines, Opiates (including heroin) and Cannabis. In addition, Australian Defence Force members may also be tested for the use of steroids.