Director of Public Prosecutions (Australia)

The Office of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions or, informally, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) is an independent prosecuting service and government agency within the portfolio of the Attorney-General of Australia, as a part of the Attorney-General's Department. It was established by the Director of Public Prosecutions Act 1983 (Cth) and began its operations in 1984.[2][3]

Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions
Agency overview
Formed8 March 1984 (1984-03-08)
Employees413[1]
Minister responsible
Agency executive
  • Sarah McNaughton SC, Director of Public Prosecutions
Parent departmentAttorney General's Department
Websitecdpp.gov.au

History

Founded on 8 March 1984 to prosecute alleged offences against Commonwealth criminal law, primarily the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) and Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth), the CDPP was first headed by Director Ian Temby, who remained in that post until 1988. The CDPP commenced with a head office in Canberra, and a Melbourne office was opened on 6 June 1984, assuming responsibility for the work of Special Prosecutor Robert Redlich.[4] The CDPP took over the work of the Special Prosecutors to prosecute bottom of the harbour tax cases and parts of the Attorney-General's Departments Deputy Crown Solicitor's Offices.[5]

The CDPP has been noted for its gender-blind hiring and work practices.[5]

Function

The agency has only one outcome; "to contribute to the safety and well-being of the people of Australia and to help protect the resources of the Commonwealth through the maintenance of law and order and by combating crime".[2] It upholds this function by carrying out prosecutions of crimes against the Commonwealth, and by providing advice to referring agencies.

It has no investigative power or function, and the decision to investigate matters and refer matters to the CDPP is at the discretion of referring agency. Furthermore, the CDPP depends on referring agencies to investigate alleged offences and prepare briefs of evidence to support prosecution and assets recovery.[6]

Organisation

The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions is based in the head office in Canberra and has offices in Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Darwin, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, and Townsville. Most offices include a Revenue and Benefit Fraud/Commercial, Financial and Corruption Branch, an Illegal Imports and Exports/Human Exploitation and Border Protection Branch, and an Organised Crime and Counter Terrorism Branch.[7]

Although the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions is within the portfolio of the Commonwealth Attorney-General, the Office operates independently of the Attorney-General and of the political process.[5] The Attorney-General, as First Law Officer of Australia, is responsible for the Commonwealth criminal justice system and remains accountable to Parliament for decisions made in the prosecution process, notwithstanding that those decisions are now in fact made by the Director and lawyers of the CDPP.[5] Under section 8 of the Director of Public Prosecutions Act 1983 (Cth), the Attorney-General has power to issue guidelines and directions to the CDPP; however, that can only be done after there has been consultation between the Attorney-General and the Director. Per the Act, any guidelines or directions must be in writing, published in the Gazette, and tabled in Parliament. The CDPP has been directed by the Attorney-General only thrice, none of which were in relation to a specific case.[5]

List of Commonwealth Directors of Public Prosecutions

OrderDirectorTerm startTerm endTime in officeSubsequent roleNotes
1Ian Temby AO, QC8 March 1984 (1984-03-08)1988 (1988)3–4 yearsInaugural Commissioner of the New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption[8]
2Mark Weinberg QC1988 (1988)December 1991 (1991-12)2–3 yearsJudge of the Federal Court of Australia, later Judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria
3Michael Rozenes QC1 February 1992 (1992-02-01)1997 (1997)4–5 yearsPrivate practice; later Chief Judge of the County Court of Victoria
4Brian Ross Martin QC1997 (1997)February 1999 (1999-02)1–2 yearsJudge of the Supreme Court of South Australia, later Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory
5Damian Bugg AM, QC2 August 1999 (1999-08-02)12 October 2007 (2007-10-12)8 years, 71 daysAcademic; later Chancellor of the University of Tasmania
6Christopher Craigie SC13 October 2007 (2007-10-13)14 October 2012 (2012-10-14)5 years, 1 dayJudge of the District Court of New South Wales
7Robert Bromwich SC17 December 2012 (2012-12-17)28 February 2016 (2016-02-28)3 years, 73 daysJudge of the Federal Court of Australia
8Sarah McNaughton SC16 May 2016 (2016-05-16)present1303 daysn/a[9]

See also

References

  1. "Table 2". APS Statistical Bulletin 2014–15 (Report). Australian Public Service Commission. Archived from the original on 23 April 2016.
  2. "Office of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions" (PDF).
  3. "Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions" (PDF).
  4. Hinchcliffe, Jaala (5 March 2009). "A brief history of the CDPP". Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions. Archived from the original on 17 July 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  5. Twigg, Karen (29 July 1996). "An Insider's View of the DPP" (PDF).
  6. "The CDPP and Investigating Agencies". Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions. Archived from the original on 9 May 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  7. "Branches". Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions. Archived from the original on 9 May 2013. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  8. "Previous Directors of the Office of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions". Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions. Australian Government.
  9. "Director of the Office of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions". Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions. Australian Government.
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