Saturday, October 23, 2010


Gavin Silbert

Gavin Silbert wrote a confidential letter to Jeremy Rapke in July. Source: Herald Sun

THIS is the confidential letter Gavin Silbert sent his boss, Jeremy Rapke, on July 19.

Dear Jeremy

Your letter of 29 June has caused me great concern, as it fails to deal with any of the history of the matters which you have raised in that correspondence.

I have no choice but to respond and make clear both the background and the circumstances that have led to this most unfortunate exchange of correspondence.

You have reproached me in your letter for being grossly disloyal and attempting to undermine your standing. I emphatically deny any disloyalty and deny that it was my intention then or at any time in the past to undermine your standing.

As you will undoubtedly recall, I have previously approached you on a private and personal level and indicated to you the concerns that were being expressed by various solicitors in the office of Public Prosecutions, members of the Victorian Bar and the judiciary about your relationship with Ms. Diana Karamicov, particularly considering your then relative positions, you as Director of Public Prosecutions, and she as a junior solicitor. At the time I first spoke to you I was unaware of her name.

I did not enquire of you then the nature of your relationship, but cautioned you as to the general perceptions of that relationship. You continued to associate and spend time with Ms Karamicov in a manner that was markedly different from every other solicitor in the Office of Public Prosecutions. The concerns of the groups of people to whom I previously referred continued unabated and increased, with the passing of time, as stories were then circulated about you attempting to interfere in her career by seeking to have her promoted within the Office of Public Prosecutions, and interfering in an area in which you had no statutory role, attempting consistently to advance her career well beyond that of a solicitor of her experience.

The position of Associate Crown Prosecutor is a public position funded by public monies, and I am, pursuant to s14 of the Public Prosecutions Act charged with managing the Crown Prosecutors and Associate Crown Prosecutors to ensure they function in an effective and efficient manner. I became aware that there was a possibility that you were considering appointing a number of Associate Crown Prosecutors and accordingly I enquired of you on two occasions who you were considering recommending for the position. You refused to tell me. Prior to these three appointments we had always discussed persons you were considering recommending for appointment in Prosecutor's Chambers.

I was concerned that the persons being recommended may have been persons who were unsuitable for the positions, which is what has in fact transpired.

In terms of the position of Associate Crown Prosecutor, the concept is generally speaking that they will be capable lawyers who have demonstrated some skill in the running of criminal trials at a more minor level and who will be given exposure and experience in more complex trials. Neither Ms. Karamicov nor Ms (aifthe Sunday Herald Sun has removed the name of the second lawyer for legal reasons) aifhave ever conducted a criminal trial in the role of counsel or advocate, and there has been nothing demonstrated by either to indicate that they are capable of so doing. The appointment of Mr (aifaifthe Sunday Herald Sun has removed the name of the third lawyer and the rest of this sentence for legal reasons).

There are many talented solicitors within the Office of Public Prosecutions who would make excellent Associate Crown Prosecutors, but they were not afforded the opportunity to apply for these positions.

I was concerned that at some stage your relationship with Ms. Karamicov would become a matter of public knowledge and cause the appointment to be regarded with significant disquiet. The office of Crown Prosecutor is an important office, in which the integrity of the office holders is of the utmost importance, as is the manner of their appointment. Because of my concerns that the appointment of Ms. Karamicov, and indeed the other two appointees, may have damaged that position, I tried to raise the matter with you but you would not speak to me and I had no alternative but to seek information about who was being recommended by your from other sources.

At no stage in my dealing with the Government, the Victorian Government Solicitor, the Solicitor for Public Prosecutions or any of his staff have I commented adversely on your standing, authority or reputation. Your standing and reputation with the solicitors of the Office of Public Prosecutions, Crown Prosecutors, members of the criminal bar and the Judiciary have been undermined by your own persistent actions and behaviour, which have continued and increased over the last two years, despite my warnings.

I was concerned as to whether you had disclosed to the Attorney-General the fact of your relationship and the nature of that relationship with Ms. Karamicov, but did not consider it my role to bring that relationship to his attention.

I reject unequivocally your assertion that there was anything improper in my approaches to John Cain and to the Attorney General. As a statutory appointee charged with specified duties, I maintain my right to approach the Attorney at any time and without reference to you. In each case I expressed my concerns at the proposed appointments based on the lack of qualifications and experience of the appointees. The need for me to make these approaches arose as a direct result of your conduct and your refusal to tell me the names of the three persons you had submitted to the Attorney-General.

Yours sincerely

Gavin Silbert.

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