Victoria Attorney General Robert Clark
Attorney-General Announces Inquiry Into Public Prosecution Offices
Victor P Taffa
Attorney-General Robert Clark today announced the Government has appointed retired Supreme Court judge, Hon. Frank Vincent QC, to inquire into and report on the functioning of the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and related offices.
The inquiry will include the offices of Director of Public Prosecutions, Chief Crown Prosecutor, Crown Prosecutors and Associate Crown Prosecutors, as well as the Office of Public Prosecutions, which consists of the Solicitor for Public Prosecutions and his staff.
Mr. Vincent has been asked to examine the functioning of these offices, including any matters that have affected or may in future affect their proper and effective functioning, and to make any recommendations considered necessary or appropriate.
The Establishment of the inquiry is in line with the action sought by the Coalition from the previous Government prior to the Election, for the appointment of a Retired Judge or similar person to investigate the situation within the DPP’s office following the various claims and concerns that had arisen.
Attorney-General, Robert Clark, said that it was vital for Victoria to have a strong and effective Public Prosecutions Service.
“The office of the DPP is responsible for the prosecution of those charged with Victoria’s most serious offences. It is vital that this office is operating at the highest possible standards of effectiveness in conducting prosecutions and appeals and in securing appropriate sentences for convicted offenders.” Mr. Clark said.
“It is appropriate that a person of the stature of a retired Supreme Court judge conduct this inquiry, given the standing and independence of the office holders involved.”
“Mr. Frank Vincent is a retired Supreme Court judge of the highest reputation. Mr. Vincent’s report last year on the DNA contamination case involving Mr Farah Jama was widely recognised as dealing with difficult and complex issues directly and effectively, and made invaluable recommendations to improve the collection and use of DNA evidence.” Mr. Clark said.
“The terms of reference given to Mr. Vincent will enable him to conduct the current inquiry in similar manner to the Jama inquiry, and hopefully to reach similarly valuable findings and recommendations.”
“I have asked each of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Chief Crown Prosecutor and the Solicitor for Public Prosecutions to give their full co-operation and assistance to the inquiry and to seek similar full co-operation and assistance from the Crown Prosecutors, Associate Crown Prosecutors and OPP staff.” Mr. Clark said.
Mr. Vincent has been requested to report to Cabinet on his inquiry by March this year.
TERMS OF REFERENCE
1. In light of claims that have been made in recent months, you are requested to inquire into and report on the functioning of the offices of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Chief Crown Prosecutor, Crown Prosecutors and Associate Crown Prosecutors and the Office of Public Prosecutions, including any matters that have affected or may in future affect the proper and effective functioning of these offices, and to make any recommendations you consider necessary or appropriate.
2. In carrying out your work, you should have regard to the standing of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Chief Crown Prosecutor, Crown Prosecutors, Associate Crown Prosecutors and Solicitor for Public Prosecutions as statutory office holders and to the independence, duties and responsibilities of their respective offices.