22 March 2024

ACT's first female Director of Public Prosecutions - and Shane Drumgold's replacement - announced

| Claire Fenwicke
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Victoria Engel SC

Victoria Engel SC has been appointed as the ACT’s first female Director of Public Prosecutions. Photo: Supplied.

A woman will be stepping into the role of ACT Director of Public Prosecutions for the first time.

Former Northern Territory deputy director of public prosecutions Victoria Engel SC will replace former DPP Shane Drumgold SC. She will begin her role in May.

She said she was looking forward to serving the ACT community, as well as working with DPP staff, ACT Policing and other stakeholders.

“An important part of my work as a prosecutor has been working closely with police, independent bodies and other agencies to ensure the criminal justice system is as effective as possible for everyone involved in our processes,” Ms Engel said.

“I will bring that same commitment to Canberra and focus on building strong connections so we deliver the best system we can for our local community.”

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Ms Engel has already had an impressive career, starting with the NSW Legal Aid Commission as a law clerk before joining the NSW DPP’s office in 2007.

While there, she was a Crown prosecutor and appeared in more than 40 trials.

From 2011 to 2012, Ms Engel worked in the United Kingdom as both a senior solicitor with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, and a prosecutor with the National Probation Trust.

Ms Engel joined the Northern Territory office of Director of Public Prosecutions in 2020 as the Principal Crown Prosecutor, where she focused on trial and appeal work in the Supreme and Appeal courts.

In this role, Ms Engel led substantial changes in the management of sexual assault cases.

She was appointed Deputy Director in 2021, a role she held until earlier this year.

Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury said he was proud the ACT was appointing its first female DPP.

“I anticipate learning from her experiences in leading change in the criminal justice system in the Northern Territory,” he said.

“I welcome the appointment of Ms Engel SC to the ACT Director of Public Prosecutions position as she is highly regarded for her years of criminal trial experience working on high-profile and complex trials.”

Anthony Williamson SC has been Acting Director since Mr Drumgold’s position was found untenable last year.

Mr Rattenbury thanked Mr Williamson for his work over the past few months.

“Anthony Williamson has done an outstanding job in acting in the position since 2023 and I would like to thank him for leading progressive changes in how the DPP and ACT Policing work together,” he said.

These included embedding a DPP liaison officer full-time in ACT Policing’s Sexual Assault and Child Abuse team.

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Balance needed2:31 pm 07 May 24

She has very small shoes to fill.

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