FAQs – Prosecution Guidelines
Police sometimes seek the ODPP's advice as to whether there is sufficient evidence to commence a prosecution but do not do so frequently. Prosecution Guideline 14 deals with the provision of advice to police.
The police investigate crime and commence criminal proceedings. If it is a serious criminal matter, they will then refer it to the ODPP, to take over the prosecution.
The police prosecute summary matters themselves in the Local Court, except where the charges relate to the sexual assault on a child or the matter involves the prosecution of a police officer.
The ODPP makes its Prosecution Guidelines publicly available on its website. The Guidelines are continually reviewed, revised and republished as required.
The latest edition was issued in October 2007, and is currently under review. The ODPP anticipates that the reviewed Guidelines will be published in 2019.
A matter will not be continued if the Director decides that there is insufficient evidence to make out the charges or that there is no reasonable prospect of conviction on the evidence that does make out the charges. See Prosecution Guidelines 4 and 19 for a detailed explanation.
If sought, reasons are generally given for decisions made in the course of a prosecution. Reasons for not proceeding are given to a person with a legitimate interest in the matter (for example, a victim). The reasons are rarely made public because they quite often involve evidence or comparable information that is not on the public record. See Prosecution Guideline 12 for more information.