Director of Public Prosecutions

Director of Public Prosecutions

The Director of Public Prosecutions is the officer charged with the prosecution of criminal offences in several criminal jurisdictions around the world. The title is used mainly in jurisdictions that are or have been members of the Commonwealth of nations.

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Australia

Australia has a Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, which was set up by the Director of Public Prosecutions Act 1983 and started operations in 1984. The nine States and territories of Australia also have their own DPPs. The Australian Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions is Chris Craigie SC.

Each state and territory has its own DPP. The Office of DPP operates independently of Government. Ultimate authority for authorising prosecutions lies with the Attorney General. However, since that is a political post, and it is desired to have a non-political (public service) post carry out this function in most circumstances, the prosecutorial powers of the AG are normally delegated to the DPP.

It is common for those who hold the office of Commonwealth or State DPP later to be appointed to a high judicial office. Examples include Mark Weinberg, now a justice of the Court of Appeal in the Supreme Court of Victoria; Michael Rozenes, now Chief Judge of the County Court of Victoria; Brian Martin, now Chief Justice of the Northern Territory; John McKechnie, now a justice of the Supreme Court of Western Australia; and Paul Coghlan, now a justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria.

Canada

In Canada, each province's Crown Attorney Office is responsible for the conduct of criminal prosecutions. In Ontario, local Crown Attorney in the Criminal Law Division are in charge of criminal cases.

Only British Columbia, Nova Scotia, and Quebec (a civil code jurisdiction) have a Director of Public Prosecutions office.

Recent legislation passed by Parliament split the conduct of federal prosecutions from the Department of Justice, and created the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (officially called the Public Prosecution Services of Canada). This legislation came into effect December 12, 2006 and the PPSC has control of criminal prosecutions in the three northern territories, and also conducts prosecutions for offences under federal Acts (including offences relating to drug-dealing, organized crime, terrorism, and various regulatory matters).

The current Director of the PPSC is Brian Saunders LLB, LLM. Saunders is a former Assistant Deputy Attorney General of Canada (Criminal Law Branch).

Hong Kong

The Director of Public Prosecutions (Chinese: 刑事檢控專員) of Hong Kong heads the Prosecutions Division of the Department of Justice, which is responsible for prosecuting trials and appeals on behalf of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, providing legal advice to law enforcement agencies on investigations, acting on behalf of the Secretary for Justice in the institution of criminal proceedings, and providing advice to bureaux and departments on measures to reform the criminal law. The DPP is superintended by the Secretary for Justice, a political appointee, who is also accountable for the decisions of the DPP. The position title was formerly the Crown Prosecutor. The Secretary for Justice and the Department of Justice were, previously, named the Attorney General and the Legal Department, respectively.

List of DPP's

  1. David Boy QC (1979-1982)
  2. Max Lucas QC (1982-1984)
  3. Joseph Duffy QC (1984-1986)
  4. James Findlay QC (1986-1989)
  5. Anthony Duckett QC (1989-1990), (Acting)
  6. John Wood CB (1990-1994)
  7. Peter Nguyen QC,SC (1994-1997)
  8. Grenville Cross QC,SC (1997-2009)[1]
  9. Ian McWalters SC (2010-2011)
  10. Kevin Zervos SC (2011- )[2]

Republic of Ireland

The Director of Public Prosecutions has been responsible for prosecution of all indictable criminal offences in the Republic of Ireland since the enactment of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1974. Before 1974 all crimes and offences were prosecuted at the suit of (after action taken by) the Attorney General. The DPP may also issue a certificate that a case should be referred to the Special Criminal Court, a juryless trial court usually reserved for terrorists and organised criminals.

The current Director of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is James Hamilton. Mr. Hamilton, who has served as DPP for 12 years, announced in July 2011 that he will be taking early retirement and stepping down November 2011 [3]

List of Director of Public Prosecutions since 1974

  • 1974-1999 Eamonn Barnes
  • 1999-2011 James Hamilton
  • 2011-20?? Claire Loftus (First Woman Director of Public Prosecutions)

Source: Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions

South Africa

In South Africa public prosecutions are conducted by an independent National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP). The current NDPP, Vusi Pikoli, is head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). His predecessor, Bulelani Ngcuka resigned his position in the wake of an unsuccessful smear campaign against him involving supporters of convicted fraudster Schabir Shaik.

The NDPP is supported by a Chief Executive Officer, Marion Sparg, Deputies, regional Directors of Public Prosecutions (DPPs), and several Special Directors. The National Director was also head of the controversial Directorate of Special Operations (DSO) - commonly known as the Scorpions - which dealt with priority and organised crime until its transfer to the police in 2009. In 2005, the unit instituted proceedings against the country's Deputy President, Jacob Zuma, leading to his dismissal.

United Kingdom

England and Wales

In England and Wales, the office of Director of Public Prosecutions was first created in 1880 as part of the Home Office, and had its own department from 1908. The DPP was responsible for the prosecution of only a small number of major cases until 1986 when responsibility for prosecutions was transferred to a new Crown Prosecution Service with the DPP as its head. The Director is appointed by the Attorney General for England and Wales.

The current DPP is Keir Starmer QC.

Scotland

Scotland has a different legal system: Scots law. The public prosecutor is the Lord Advocate who heads up the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service. All investigations by the police are nominally under the direction of the Lord Advocate and local Procurators Fiscal, and all prosecutions are carried out in the name of the Lord Advocate.

The current Lord Advocate is The Rt Hon Elish Angiolini,QC.

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland a similar situation existed, and the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland now heads the Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland.

The current DPP is Sir Alasdair Fraser,CB,QC.

See also

References

External links


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  • Director of Public Prosecutions — Director of Pub|lic Pros|e|cu|tions the DPP in the legal system of England and Wales, the lawyer whose job it is to decide whether or not a person should be charged with a crime, in cases where it is not clear. There is a similar official in… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Kable v Director of Public Prosecutions for NSW — Infobox Court Case name=Kable v DPP (NSW) court=High Court of Australia date decided=12 September 1996 full name= Kable v The Director of Public Prosecutions for New South Wales citations= [http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/HCA/1996/24.html… …   Wikipedia

  • (the) Director of Public Prosecutions — the Director of Public Prosecutions UK US british a government official who decides whether someone accused of a crime by the police should be brought to trial in a court of law Thesaurus: individual government officialshyponym lawyers and people …   Useful english dictionary

  • Director of Public Prosecutions, the — Di,rector of ,Public Prose cutions, the BRITISH a government official who decides whether someone accused of a crime by the police should be brought to trial in a court of law …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

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