FAQ Guidelines

Do you have a question about the NSW ODPP? We cannot provide legal advice and do not discuss individual cases, but will consider inquiries about the criminal justice system and the process of matters through the court.

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FAQ Guidelines

Police sometimes seek the ODPP advice as to whether there is sufficient evidence to commence a prosecution. This is the exception rather than the rule. Prosecution Guideline 14 deals with the provision of advice to police.

The Police investigate crime and commence criminal proceedings. When police commence proceedings for a serious criminal matter they subsequently refer the matter to this Office for prosecution. The ODPP then takes over the prosecution of the matter from the Police. The Police still prosecute summary matters themselves in the local court, except where the charge relates to the sexual assault upon a child or involves the prosecution of a police officer.

The Prosecution Guidelines are published electronically by the ODPP, and are publicly available. The Prosecution Guidelines are continually reviewed, revised and republished as required. The latest publication was issued in October 2007, and are currently under review. It is anticipated that the reviewed Prosecution Guidelines will be published in 2014.

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 Guideline 4 and Prosecution Guideline 19 for detailed explanation.

The views of victims are sought, considered and taken into account when decisions are made about prosecutions. See Prosecution Guideline 19.

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 (e.g. a victim). The reasons are rarely made public because they quite often they involve evidence or comparable information that is not on the public record. See Prosecution Guideline 12 for more information.