In prosecutions under the Queensland Work Health and Safety (WHS) laws, the Industrial Magistrate hearing the matter has the discretion to not record a conviction. Often, the object of securing a non-recorded conviction is to protect the Defendant’s brand. Importantly, a non-recorded conviction does not need to be disclosed in certain situations (for example in tenders, or in foreign visa applications). Until now the Queensland WHS regulator has published the identity of parties who are convicted, whether a conviction is recorded or not.
Recently the Supreme Court in Queensland found that the regulator’s publication of a party’s details on its website where no conviction was recorded, was unlawful. The court’s discretion whether to record convictions when passing sentence will now be considered in greater detail during WHS prosecutions.
Parties whose identifying details appear on the Queensland Workplace Health and Safety Prosecution List webpage can require the regulator to remove their details where no conviction was recorded. That would avoid Google type searches identifying them in relation to the conviction.