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OPP scandal costs Rapke his job

OPP scandal costs Rapke his job

The Victorian Director of Public Prosecutions, Jeremy Rapke QC, has resigned in the wake of controversy surrounding his decision to promote a junior female lawyer to the position of associate…

The Victorian Director of Public Prosecutions, Jeremy Rapke QC, has resigned in the wake of controversy surrounding his decision to promote a junior female lawyer to the position of associate crown prosecutor.

Rapke's resignation came after a report by The Hon Frank Vincent AO QC examined allegations that Rapke had acted improperly by appointing 28-year-old Diana Karamicov as associate crown prosecutor.

After reviewing the report, Rapke tendered his resignation on Friday (13 May).

However, Victorian Attorney-General Robert Clark said it was not appropriate to release Vincent's report to the public because it contains personal information.

"The Government does not propose to release Mr Vincent's report. It contains sensitive information and other material that was provided to Mr Vincent in confidence," said Clark in a statement released yesterday.

While Clark accepted Rapke's resignation, he acknowledged "the very professional way in which he has handled what is a difficult situation".

The Victorian Office of Public Prosecutions (OPP) was in thrown into turmoil last year when Rapke came under fire for promoting Karamicov. It was speculated that Rapke and Karamicov were having an "inappropriate" relationship, though this was denied by both parties.

The inquiry into Rapke's conduct found there was a major falling out between Rapke and senior prosecutors over hiring practices.

In his letter of resignation, Rapke acknowledged he had made an error of judgment in deciding to appoint an inexperienced lawyer to such a position.

"During the inquiry I acknowledged that misjudgment," wrote Rapke in his letter of resignation.

The Vincent Report concluded that Rapke had adopted a course of action that gave rise to a perception of the presence of a conflict of interest. It also found that Rapke had engaged in no conscious wrongdoing.

Vincent also identified deficiencies in organisational arrangements.

"Accordingly the structure, operations and management processes of the Office of Public Prosecutions will be revised with reference to current needs and in light of the experience gained in this State, and other Australian jurisdictions, over the seventeen years since they were put in place," said Clark.

"As a consequence of this inquiry, the Government will be making appropriate amendments to the Public Prosecutions Act 1994 to correct deficiencies in the existing arrangements, including the role relationships between the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Solicitor of Public Prosecutions and the Chief Crown Prosecutor, to ensure the effective conduct of their important responsibilities."

Greg Lyon SC is tipped to be Rapke's successor.

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