The scandal surrounding Victoria's Director of Public Prosecutions, Jeremy Rapke, may jeopardise his chances of claiming a position on the bench of the Supreme Court.
Rapke has come under fire for promoting to the position of associate Crown prosecutor a relatively junior prosecutor by the name of Diana Karamicov, with whom it is speculated he is having an "inappropriate" relationship.
According to reports in The Age, Karamicov's appointment upset Chief Crown Prosecutor Gavin Silbert SC, some other Crown prosecutors and numerous staff members at the Office of the Public Prosecutor who claim to feel "cheated".
Over the past two days Rapke has been forced to publicly defend himself and deny having a sexual relationship with Karamicov.
According to Rapke, Karamicov is an "outstanding advocate and lawyer", whose nomination for the position was, as is required, affirmed independently by Victorian Government Solicitor John Cain. Rapke has suggested that rumours about a relationship were spread by a disgruntled lawyer.
Rapke went on to tell ABC radio yesterday (11 October): "She's worked with me on a number of very significant and long cases over a number of years. We're friends, but no, there's no improper relationship.
"For me, it's very distressing; it's very upsetting for me personally and for my family . . . it's been very hard on the people who have been the subject of these scurrilous allegations."
Rapke also conceded that his relationship with Silbert was under strain, but said they were still able to ensure the OPP functioned well and achieved results.
Despite Rapke's denials, opposition legal spokesman Robert Clark yesterday (11 October) insisted that the Victorian Government conduct an inquiry into Karamicov's appointment in order to restore confidence in the criminal prosecution team.
Even if Rapke is being truthful, many in the industry are speculating that the damage to his reputation may hinder his appointment to the bench. The five previous holders of the office of DPP in Victoria all went on to serve on the Supreme Court.