Our organisation

The Director

The Director of Public Prosecutions is a statutory officer, independent of the Attorney General’s Department, who initiates and conducts criminal prosecutions in the Magistrates, District and Supreme courts of South Australia. The Director of Public Prosecutions also initiates and conducts appeals in the Full Court of South Australia and the High Court of Australia.

Our Objective

The objective of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) is to provide the people of South Australia with an independent and effective criminal prosecution service that is timely, efficient, and just. The office pursues this objective through application of the DPP’s guidelines. The benefit to the South Australian community is the provision of an effective prosecution service which is essential to the rule of law.

Executive

The Executive Committee of the Office comprises the Director, two Managing Solicitors, the Deputy Director (Counsel), and the Director, Business Services (5 FTEs). The Executive Committee meets each month and has overall responsibility for the establishment, implementation and evaluation of the strategic direction of the Office. It also has responsibility for policy and determines responses to the important legal issues affecting the ODPP.

Counsel Section

The Counsel Section is managed by the Deputy Director – Counsel. The Counsel Section (including the Chief Crown Prosecutor) undertakes the prosecution of the most serious criminal pleas and trials within the District and Supreme Courts of South Australia. In addition to the Director, Deputy Director – Solicitor and Deputy Director – Counsel, senior members of the Counsel Section may also undertake appeal work in the Court of Criminal Appeal and in the High Court of Australia.

Briefing Out

Number of Matters Briefed out to Private Bar table

Number of Matters Briefed out to Private Bar graphic

Organisational Chart

Organisational Chart

Solicitor’s Section

The Solicitors’ Section is the largest section of the ODPP and comprises the Brief Assessment Team, the Vulnerable Witness Team, the Circuit Team and four general solicitor teams. Solicitor work includes committals in the Magistrates Court, and conduct of major indictable matters in the superior courts including pre-trial hearings and preparation of files for trial. Prosecution files include fraud, Drug Court matters, mental health orders, ICAC prosecutions and circuit court work in Mount Gambier and Port Augusta. The prosecutors within the Solicitors’ Section appear in all criminal courts when submissions are made on guilty pleas, when disputed facts hearings proceed and in relation to permission to appeal and appeal arguments. Senior members of the Section also undertake appeal work in the Court of Criminal Appeal and the Chief Counsel (Appeals and Advice) is also included in this Section.

This financial year has seen the introduction of the Major Indictable Reform initiative whereby matters commenced post 5 March 2018 are subject to new committal processes, in particular the provision of a Preliminary Brief by SAPOL to the ODPP and the requirement of a charge determination by this office prior to committal proceedings commencing.

Confiscations Section

The Confiscations Section is part of the Solicitors’ Section and comprises 3.7 legal FTE in 2017-18. The Criminal Assets Confiscation Act 2005 (‘the Act’) gives the Administrator of the Act, the Director of Public Prosecutions, the power to seek to confiscate proceeds and instruments of crime. Significant amendments to the Act commenced on 10 August 2018 in relation to prescribed drug offenders (“PDO”), such that all property of certain drug offenders (with some exceptions) automatically forfeits to the Crown upon conviction, as an additional punishment for their offending. The Act also provides a scheme for the proceeds of confiscated assets to be paid into the Victims of Crime Fund or the Justice Rehabilitation Fund for the benefit of the community. The staff of the Confiscations Section undertake the necessary work in order to effect outcomes under the Act such as:

  • Exercising the delegated powers of the Administrator in respect of the commencement and conduct of criminal assets confiscation litigation.
  • Making applications to the court for restraining orders over property to ensure that it is not disposed of during the course of criminal proceedings;
  • Making applications to the court for forfeiture orders in cases where property which is the proceeds of an offence, or was used in connection with the commission of an offence, can be forfeited.
  • Making applications for a monetary sum to be paid to the Victims of Crime Fund based on the value of benefits received from the commission of an offence or the value of property used in connection with the commission of an offence (a ‘Pecuniary Penalty Order’).

Criminal Assests Confiscations table

Witness Assistance Service

The WAS provides a state-wide information, education, support and referral service to victims of crime, witnesses for the prosecution, and their immediate family members in matters dealt with by the ODPP. These people may be especially vulnerable due to the type and nature of the criminal offences involving them and/or as a result of their personal circumstances. The Service continued to assist the Director to:

  • meet his obligations to victims of crime under the Victims of Crime Act 2001;
  • inform victims and witnesses of their roles, rights and responsibilities in dealing with the ODPP and the criminal justice system;
  • help manage the requests, needs and expectations of victims and witnesses when dealing with the ODPP and criminal justice system; and
  • provide victims and witnesses with information, support and referral resources.

In 2017-18 there were 10.6 FTE in the WAS team comprising the Manager and senior social work professionals (Witness Assistance Officers). That staffing complement included 3.6 FTE designated child officer roles funded from the ODPP of the Commissioner for Victims’ Rights.

Business Services Section

The Business Services Section of the ODPP is managed by the Director, Business Services. The section comprises a number of administrative teams including the Witness Assistance Service (WAS), law clerks, secretaries, and administrative staff. Overall, the Section is responsible for human resource management, financial services, information management, work health and safety, administrative policy and procedures, procurement, records management, risk management and a range of other specific legal support functions such as data entry, secretarial, reception and rounds delivery.

There are currently 26.4 FTE law clerks within the ODPP, managed by a Law Clerk Manager and one team leader. The clerks support the Trial Counsel and Solicitor Sections. General administrative staff within the Business Services Section comprise 14.9 FTE.

Secretarial staff number 2.8 FTE and are supervised by the Law Clerk Manager. The majority of typing requirements involve complex court documents and general typing.