Western Australia's new Director of Public Prosecutions will formally commence operations on Monday, following proclamation of the DPP Act.
Attorney General Joe Berinson said the Act was approved by Executive Council today and will come into effect on Monday after gazettal.
Mr Berinson said the DPP would have access to an initial staff of 53, expected to rise to 67 as recruitment continued throughout the year.
By December this would include 23 lawyers directly on staff to the DPP, including 18 counsel and five solicitors, a further seven counsel from the Crown Solicitor's office available on brief to the DPP, three professional assistants and 34 support staff.
The DPP, Mr John McKechnie QC, has power to act with complete independence from the Government of the day.
His powers include authority to:
· handle prosecutions for all indictable offences;
· grant indemnities from prosecution for witnesses;
· authorise nolles prosequi (discontinuance of prosecution) and appeals against the inadequacy of sentences;
· administer the Crimes (Confiscation of Profits) Act;
· intervene in coronial inquests; and -
· conduct proceedings for certain Commonwealth offences, by arrangement with the Commonwealth.
Mr Berinson said the commencement of duties by the DPP was an historic occasion for Western Australia.
"It has been a very long time coming, with legislation for a DPP first introduced to Parliament in 1989, but I am confident we now have a very powerful and valuable new office to assist all Western Australians," he said.
"The DPP's independence from any government is absolute, and will add to public confidence in the justice system."