PROFILE

Kerri Judd QC is Victoria’s Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Kerri studied at Melbourne University, graduating with a Bachelor of Laws in 1987 and a Master of Laws in 1995.

Kerri was admitted to practice in 1989 and admitted to the Bar in 1991. From 2007, she spent nine years working as Senior Counsel (now Queens Counsel) before being appointed Senior Crown Prosecutor in 2016. She has appeared regularly in the High Court of Australia, the Victorian Court of Appeal, and the trial division of the County and Supreme Courts.

In March 2018, Kerri was appointed as the new DPP, and in doing so became the first woman to hold the role in Victoria.

As DPP, Kerri is responsible for instituting, preparing, and conducting all serious criminal prosecutions on behalf of the Crown.

During her tenure, Kerri has been involved in a number of complex, high profile, and significant prosecutions including Dimitrious “James” Gargasoulas in relation to the Bourke Street attack; Arun Kamalasanan and Sofia Sam for cyanide-poisoning murder;  Akon Guode for the murder of her three children; Codey Herrmann for rape and murder; and the High Court appeal by George Pell in relation to historic child sex offences.

Kerri has an interest in the technological development of court processes and was involved in prosecuting the first fully integrated electronic jury trial. She is committed to law reform in Victoria and has been a leading player in developing mentoring pathways for young prosecutors.

THE ROLE OF DPP

The DPP is the head of Victoria’s public prosecutions service and is responsible for instituting, preparing and conducting serious criminal matters in the High Court, Supreme Court and County Court on behalf of the Crown.

The DPP is an independent statutory appointee appointed by the Governor in Council. The DPP is responsible to the Attorney-General for the performance of functions and use of power. The DPP is independent of government in relation to decisions on the institution, preparation and conduct of criminal proceedings.

Matters prosecuted by the DPP include:

  • murder
  • major sex offences
  • drug trafficking
  • commercial crime and fraud
  • serious assaults
  • aggravated burglaries
  • serious driving offences, such as culpable driving
  • occupational health and safety matters involving death or serious injury
  • corruption involving police or lawyers.

The DPP is responsible for:

  • conducting committal proceedings in the Magistrates' Court
  • prosecuting serious crime in Victoria's County and Supreme Court
  • conducting criminal appeals in the County Court, the Court of Appeal and the High Court.

The DPP can prosecute summary offences in certain circumstances, and also finalise some indictable matters in the Magistrates’ Court.

The DPP is also responsible for key decisions including whether to prosecute a matter, what the charges should be, whether a matter should be withdrawn or discontinued, if an application should be made to confiscate property associated with crime, and whether to appeal.

In performance of the role, the DPP must:

  • have consideration to justice and fairness
  • conduct prosecutions in an effective, economic and efficient manner
  • ensure the prosecutorial system gives appropriate consideration to the concerns of the victims of crime.

As the head of the public prosecutions service, the DPP has a leadership role within the Victorian criminal justice system and contributes to law reform, particularly in relation to the reduction of court delays and the complexity of the legal process.

The history

In 1983 Victoria became the first jurisdiction in Australia to establish a DPP, following the enactment of the Director of Public Prosecutions Act 1982 by the Cain Government. Victoria's first DPP, John Harber Phillips QC (later Chief Justice of Victoria), took up his appointment in February 1983. Victoria's DPP's to date have been:

  • John Harber Phillips QC (1983–1984)
  • John Coldrey QC (1984–1991)
  • Bernard Bongiorno QC (1991–1994)
  • Geoff Flatman QC (1995–2001)
  • Paul Coghlan QC (2001–2007)
  • Jeremy Rapke QC (2007–2011)
  • John Champion S.C. (2011–2017 )
  • Kerri Judd QC (2018 - current).