Role of the ODPP

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) is the independent prosecuting authority for the State of Western Australia, responsible for the prosecution of all serious offences committed against State criminal law.

Any offences committed against Commonwealth criminal laws are prosecuted by the Commonwealth ODPP.

The ODPP acts independently of the Government in decision-making on criminal prosecutions. The Director is however responsible to the Attorney General for the operation of the Office.

The ODPP does not investigate crime - that is the role of the investigating agencies such as the WA Police and the Corruption and Crime Commission (CCC).

The Criminal Prosecution Process

Complaints of a criminal nature are generally made to the ...

WA Police

... who investigate the matter and may charge the accused with a criminal offence. The case is initially dealt with in the ...

Magistrates Court

... before a Magistrate. If the offence is a more serious one (an indictable offence), the Magistrate will send, or "commit", the accused to the District or Supreme Court for sentence or for trial

The ODPP manages committal proceedings in the Perth Magistrates Court and the Stirling Gardens Magistrates Court. The WA Police handles committals in suburban and most country courts. A prosecutor from ...

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions

... will carefully review the case to see whether there is sufficient evidence to prosecute the case in the Supreme or District Court. If the ODPP decides that the case should not proceed because there is insufficient evidence, or for other reasons, this will be discussed with the victim of the crime at the earliest possible time.

If the ODPP decides that the case should proceed an indictment and prosecution brief will be prepared. The case will then be heard in the ...

District or Supreme Court

... where the accused may plead guilty before a Judge and be sentenced. If the accused pleads not guilty the case will need to go to trial before a Judge and jury or in some rare cases before a Judge alone.  The ODPP will conduct the prosecution and call a number of Police and other witnesses to give evidence.

All state criminal cases heard in the District or Supreme Court are prosecuted by the ODPP on behalf of the State of Western Australia. A case is concluded when the accused is convicted and sentenced, the matter is formally discontinued or the accused is acquitted.

Appeals

A convicted person can appeal to a higher court - the Court of Appeal - against the severity of the sentence or the conviction after trial. The DPP can also appeal against a convicted person's sentence in special circumstances.

The ODPP acts in all state criminal appeals.

Victims of Crime

The ODPP is committed to recognising the needs of victims of crime. If they wish, victims will be kept informed of the progress of the prosecution case and will have the opportunity to participate in the sentencing process by providing a victim impact statement for presentation to the Court and for the Judge to take in to consideration when sentencing.

The Victim Support Service (VSS), a service of the Department of the Attorney General, provides a range of services to victims of crime. To access the VSS website click here.

The ODPP represents the Western Australian community, not individual victims of crime. Therefore at times, the ODPP, while considering the views of victims, may need to make decisions in the interest of the prosecution with which the victim may disagree. In these instances the ODPP will always endeavour to consult the victim.

There is a dedicated section of the website for victims of crime. Please refer to the main menu to access more information.

Prosecution Witnesses

In defended cases, the ODPP may need to call a range of police officers, expert witnesses and members of the general public to give evidence on behalf of the prosecution at the trial. In many instances the victim of crime will also be called to give evidence.

If you wish to know more about the role of a prosecution witness please go to the “Witnesses” pages of this website by clicking on the link “Witnesses” on the top menu bar, or you can contact the staff at the ODPP.

Last updated: 14-Jan-2013

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