The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) is an independent agency that decides whether a prosecution should go ahead, prepares the case for court, and then goes to court to represent the State in criminal trials.
We are responsible for providing a fair and effective prosecution service for the people of South Australia.
What we do
The ODPP prosecutes major indictable offences – these are the more serious offences in South Australia like murder, manslaughter and sexual assault.
Trials of major indicatable offences are held in the District or Supreme Court.
Other offences (known as minor indictable offences and summary offences) are usually prosecuted by specialist police prosecutors or solicitors employed by the South Australian Police.
The ODPP sometimes takes over minor indictable or summary offences when they involve particularly sensitive or complex matters.
The Commonwealth DPP is responsible for prosecuting offences against Commonwealth laws.
An ODPP lawyer must consider a range of factors when deciding whether a prosecution case should go ahead. These include things like:
- considering the evidence that supports the charge
- whether it is in the public interest
- the interests of any alleged victim.
The Statement of Prosecution Policy and Guidelines sets out the obligations, responsibilities of lawyers in the ODPP, and the factors that have to be considered by the ODPP when making decisions about prosecutions.
The ODPP represents the community when we go to court and we are required to help the court to ensure that there is a fair trial.
The prosecutor’s duty to be fair is an obligation which is owed to the Court, the community, the accused, victims, witnesses and defence lawyers.
The ODPP also has specific obligations to victims of crime but ODPP lawyers are not the victim’s lawyer – instead, they represent the State.
The ODPP has a dedicated Witness Assistance Service to support victims and witnesses involved in ODPP prosecution cases.
What we don’t do
The ODPP does not investigate crimes.
Investigating agencies such as South Australia Police and the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption investigate alleged crimes, gather the evidence, and send the evidence to the ODPP to prosecute in court.
If you have information about a criminal offence, you should report it to South Australia Police.
We don’t provide legal advice to the general public. If you need legal advice, you can contact:
- Legal Services Commission
- A South Australian Community Legal Service Centre.