17 November 2023

A-G appoints new Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions

| Chris Johnson
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Raelene Sharp KC has been appointed Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions. Photo: Victorian Bar.

Victorian barrister Raelene Sharp KC will be the next Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP). It follows a year-long search to replace Sarah McNaughton who left the role in September last year when appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales.

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus announced Ms Sharp’s five-year appointment on Tuesday (14 November), saying her term will begin on 4 December this year.

He said Ms Sharp won the role following an extensive, transparent and merit-based selection process.

“Raelene Sharp KC has been a barrister at the Victorian Bar since 2010 and was appointed Senior Counsel in 2022,” the Attorney-General said.

“Ms Sharp has a strong criminal law practice, appearing for the CDPP in many complex and sensitive cases.

“She has broad public law experience, both as counsel in public law litigation and through her work with the Office of the Special Investigator and the then Australian Crime Commission.”

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Mr Dreyfus congratulated Ms Sharp on her appointment and thanked her for taking on the role.

He also thanked Scott Bruckard for acting as the director while the appointment process was undertaken.

The CDPP is an independent prosecution service established by Parliament in 1984 to prosecute alleged offences against Commonwealth law. It operates independently of the Attorney-General and the political process.

The office provides advice to help investigation agencies gather evidence required to bring cases before the courts and contributes to a fair, safe and just society by successfully prosecuting crimes against Commonwealth law.

The CDPP also plays a role in educating the community about the consequences of breaking criminal law by sending a strong message of deterrence to potential offenders.

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“Commonwealth criminal activity continues to evolve and expand reflecting changes in contemporary society and posing significant threats to Australia,” its information site states.

“Rapid technological development and the increasingly international nature of society enables innovative, highly coordinated and sophisticated criminal activity.

“A large part of the CDPP’s practice involves serious and organised criminal activity as offenders constantly look for vulnerabilities to exploit for criminal gain.

“The prosecution of terrorism offences aims to deter those who seek to threaten to harm Australia and its people by politically motivated violence, attacks on Australia’s defence system and the promotion of communal violence.”

The CDPP prosecutes crimes including fraud, commercial, money laundering, serious drugs, people smuggling, human trafficking and slavery, child exploitation, counter-terrorism, cybercrime, cyberbullying and threats, environment and safety.

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