Chapter Three - People > Effectiveness of Investigations and Complaints Handling > page 6 of 12
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Effectiveness of Investigations and Complaints Handling

Director of Military Prosecutions

The Office of the Director of Military Prosecutions commenced operations on 1 July 2003 on an interim basis under a Defence Instruction (General) issued pursuant to the Defence Act until the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 can be amended to establish the Director of Military Prosecutions as an independent statutory appointment. Its functions are to advise commanders in respect of serious disciplinary matters; to prosecute in courts martial and Defence Force Magistrate trials; and to represent the Chief of the Defence Force and the Service Chiefs in appellate courts.

During 2004-05, 132 cases were referred to the Office of the Director of Military Prosecutions for prosecution. The Office provided 216 advices to commanders in respect of those matters (and matters which had been referred in the previous year) and prosecuted in 52 trials.

Having commenced 2004-05 with a backlog caused by a caseload of well over double that which had been anticipated, the Office of the Director of Military Prosecutions concluded, by taking to prosecution or otherwise, 190 matters. This effectively alleviated the caseload backlog and for the majority of 2004-05 the Office of the Director of Military Prosecutions operated within acceptable time frames for the performance of its functions.

The Director of Military Prosecutions also gave evidence to the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Reference Committee during its inquiry into the effectiveness of Australia's military justice system. The committee reported that it was 'very impressed with the work of the [Office of the Director of Military Prosecutions] to date' .

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