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The Commission has decided to publish all witness statements it has received on its website, for access by the public at large, subject to confidentiality claimed in accordance with Practice Guideline No. 01 and the protection of witnesses’ personal details.

The intention had been to publish the statements only to persons with leave to appear, pending the commencement of formal public hearings. However, such hearings will not commence for several more weeks and the Commission wishes to ensure that the matters set out in the statements are available for scrutiny and response by other witnesses and members of the public with knowledge of the relevant facts. The publication of the statements now is part of the conduct of an open inquiry and is intended, in effect, as the start of the process of holding public hearings.

All persons accessing the statements, including members of the press, should note that the publication of the statements does not in any way indicate that their contents have been accepted by the Commissioner as true or even as relevant to the inquiry. The Commission continues to gather evidence and will receive further statements, which will be added to those now published and may well contradict or disprove any allegations presently made. It will also receive submissions in due course as to any matters alleged which are irrelevant or should be given little or no weight. In short, nothing in the statements should be taken as proved unless and until it is the subject of findings in the Commissioner’s ultimate report. Any public comment in relation to the contents of the statements must, responsibly, make this clear.