Victoria's Director of Public Prosecutions has wide discretion to prosecute or not - here's the policy document
Friday, 18 March 2016
Thanks to reader Doubtful John for pointing this policy out. Here's John Cain, the boss at the public solicitors office in Victoria. John's one of the people who decide who gets charged and who doesn't.
John Cain Jr is the former Maurice Blackburn lawyer who was present at the Commonwealth Bank to help Bruce Wilson return apparently dodgy money to the companies he'd extracted it from. This letter is in Cain's handwriting.
So how do John and others at the OPP work out who ends up in the dock and who goes home free?
It boils down to two questions.
Is there a reasonable prospect of conviction?
Is a prosecution "in the public interest"?
That seems like huge latitude to me. What John Cain thinks is in the public interest may be very different from what you or I think.
The points he'd consider include (amongst many other things) the "staleness" of the offence.
You reckon a judge and jury hold the power to decide guilt or innocence in our criminal justice system? That's only for matters that reach the courts. Imagine holding the power to say its "not in the public interest' that someone is charged in the first place.
So is it in the public interest that offenders in The AWU Scandal are charged and brought to justice?
You're the public! Let us know what you think and we'll work out how to communicate the pubic's message to the DPP.
The alternative assessment of 'the public interest' doesn't bear thinking about.