WA Investigation - Audio Recording of Meeting?

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Michael Smith

15 January 2019
The circumstances are as follows:

My brother committed suicide whilst an inpatient at a private psychiatric hospital.

The private psychiatric hospital failed to provide safe and adequate care and breached several of the standards/requirements as provided for in the Mental Health Act 2014.

Immediately after my brother's death, my parents and I received very limited and conflicting information with regard to the details surrounding my brothers death.

After nearly 2 weeks we were finally provided with the opportunity to meet with management and treating medical practioner. Initially, we were told the internal review was complete the meeting was to be provided with a copy / discuss the report which had been finalised. However at the meeting we were told the report would be provided to us, interestingly during the meeting despite being told we would be provided with a document responding to all the questions asked during the meeting neither the CEO or Director of Clinic took or had any notes or documents in front of the during the meeting nor was the meeting minuted.

Given my concerns with regard to the accuracy of information and fraudlent misrepresentation of the facts surrounding my brothers death, I decided to record the meeting on my iPhone.

Anyway as it turns out based upon the clinics records etc the information we were provided during the meeting was selective, false and misleading. I believe consisted of fraudulent misrepresentation and a cover-up

My brothers death is the subject of a Coroners Investigation - likely inquest and investigations by Dept Health and governing bodies

Based on these circumstances can I :

1) Acknowledge / disclose I recorded the meeting and
2) Can the recording be used / realised?


Well-Known Member
25 July 2018
The law in WA allows a principle party to a private conversation to authorize the use of a listening device without the consent of any other parties if it "is reasonably necessary for the protection of the lawful interests of that principal party."

Given the seriousness of the events and that you felt that you had been mislead or lied to, you had more than reasonable grounds to record. As such, the recording is lawful and it as well as any transcript can be used as evidence. If you wish to submit the recording to the Inquest, then I recommend that you contact the Coroner's office directly to find out how to go about it.

The relevant legislation in regard to recording private conversations is Section 5 of the WA Surveillance Devices Act 1998, "Regulation of use, installation and maintenance of listening devices". Subsection 3(d) is applicable in your case.

Western Australian Legislation - Surveillance Devices Act 1998
(The above page contains links to PDF, Word and HTML versions. I recommend the PDF version as it is properly formatted. The HTML version is a mess.)
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Michael Smith

15 January 2019
Thank you again for providing the above response to my question. My father contacted the Coroners Office with regard to this matter though given a Coroner is yet to be assigned this matter he was offered to advice as to how to go about what steps are required in order for the recording to be released ruled lawful.

Such are the circumstances of my brothers death the Health Dept Chief Psychiatrist ordered a targeted clinical review / investigation of the care and treatment of my brother. My father informed me he made them aware of the recording though offered no advice as to steps necessary in order for the recording to be used as evidence. In interviews with my parents recorded an account from my parents of the some information as received during the meeting.

My father has recently been hospitalised as a result of the effects of my brothers death and the subsequent conduct of the mental health service provider. I am seeking to engaged an appropriate legal professional with the view to have the recording deemed lawful ASAP.

My understanding of what is required is limited to understanding a Magistrate is required to rule the recording lawful. Therefore I was hoping / seeking information as to what is involved / required as I do what is required / engage an appropriate legal professional with the view / intention to have the recording deemed lawful ASAP. As the different agencies would I believe accept the recording / transcript should it already be ruled legal by a Magiatrate

Thanks again