Saturday, October 23, 2010


Jeremy Rapke

Jeremy Rapke has called for unity in the Office of Public Prosecutions. Source: Herald Sun

THIS is the full text of an internal memo DPP Jeremy Rapke sent to staff on Friday afternoon.

Mr Rapke has declined several requests from the Sunday Herald Sun to be interviewed over this controversy

I HAVE today become aware that the Sunday Herald Sun intends to publish on Sunday a letter written to me in July 2010 by Gavin Silbert SC, Chief Crown Prosecutor.

It was a personal letter in which Mr Silbert expressed his personal views about my recommendation of three solicitor-advocates as Associate Crown Prosecutors.

There has been a lot of discussion in the media recently about these appointments and I now wish to deal with the reasons that motivated me to make my recommendations to the Attorney-General.

In April 2010 I wrote to the Attorney-General, the Honourable Rob Hulls MP, recommending the appointment of seven persons as Senior Crown Prosecutors, Crown Prosecutors and Associate Crown Prosecutors.

In that letter I provided reasons to the Attorney for my recommendations.

I advised the Attorney that my recommendation that the three solicitors be appointed Associate Crown Prosecutors was part of my commitment to enhance and develop in-house advocacy in the OPP and to provide a recognised career path for solicitors who chose advocacy as a specialisation and excelled in it.

I informed the Attorney that the appointment of the three Associate Crown Prosecutors would significantly augment the ability of Crown Prosecutors Chambers to service my briefing needs, particularly in the Court of Appeal and in the area of specialist sexual offence prosecution.

It was in those two areas that I had experienced briefing pressures.

I was concerned to ensure that I was represented in higher court appeals and sex offence prosecutions by the most skilled and experienced specialist advocates.

I observed that the demands made by the Court of Appeal for ever more detailed and complex data and submissions had stretched my resources to the point that I was then having great difficulty in servicing the Court.

I advised the Attorney that I intended to use two of the three Associate Crown Prosecutors as specialist Court of Appeal advocates whilst also giving them appropriate opportunities to develop their general advocacy skills.

It was my stated intention that, initially, the Associate Crown Prosecutors would work in those areas of specialisation which I identified for the Attorney before developing the skills necessary to conduct trials and more complex criminal litigation.

Suggestions that any or all of the three solicitors lacked the necessary qualifications, skill or expertise to carry out the functions I designated for them are completely without foundation and are malicious.

A panel appointed by the Attorney-General to assess independently my recommendations confirmed the suitability of those three solicitors for appointment as Associate Crown Prosecutors.

The continued public denigration of these three prosecutors is a disgrace and reflects poorly on all who have been involved in the public campaign to undermine their standing and careers.

Further, the personal cost to these three people of their public vilification cannot be underestimated and is so frequently ignored.

One needs little imagination to appreciate how hurtful it must be to them to read in the newspapers of their supposed incompetence and lack of suitability for the positions to which they have been appointed.

The three Associate Crown Prosecutors have my full confidence and support.

Each of them is a fine criminal lawyer and advocate and deserved their appointments.

I call upon all prosecutors and staff of the OPP to rally behind these three prosecutors and to stop immediately the despicable and unwarranted campaign which is calculated to cause so much personal hurt and embarrassment as well as significant damage to the prosecution service of this state.

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