30 October 2020

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Ms. Claire Loftus, today launched her Office’s Annual Report for 2019, setting out the activities of the Office during that year.

In her Foreword of the Annual Report 2019, the Director states:

“… in 2019 the Office gained Government support to establish a Sexual Offences Unit.  As outlined in Chapter 3.2, when it is fully established, it is planned that all sexual offences prosecuted in the Central Criminal Court and almost all categories of sexual offences in the Dublin Circuit Court will be managed from beginning to end within this new unit.  Despite the additional challenges to our service caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, we hope to have the first phase of the SOU in place by the end of 2020.  This is a sign of our commitment to press ahead with this project.  I believe it will be a very positive step forward in dealing with victims of sexual crime.”

“The need for a dedicated unit to deal with sexual offences is greater than ever as this year we continue to see a significant rise in sexual offence files submitted to the Office.  In 2019 there was a 12% increase in the number of such files.”

In relation to the increase in files received by the Office, she states:

“In 2019 the number of files received requiring a decision on whether to prosecute or not increased by over 8%… There has been an even more marked increase in the current year.  Files submitted for directions on prosecution are currently up by 23% on 2019.”

With regard to Brexit, the Director adds:

“Brexit continues to pose a challenge for the international work of the Office as we approach the end of the transition period amid continuing uncertainty as to whether, come January 2021, there will be new legal arrangements with the UK to replace the existing European Arrest Warrant procedure.  While the political negotiations are ongoing in this regard, the international team in this Office continues to liaise with the Department of Justice and Equality and the Garda Síochána to plan for all eventualities.”

In relation to victims of crime, she states:

“We continue to review our structures and procedures to ensure that they comply with the Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Act 2017, and that we are in a position to provide victims of crime with the standards and quality of service to which they are entitled… As set out in Chapter 3.2 the numbers of requests for reasons for our decisions not to prosecute, and requests for reviews of those decisions were at similar levels to 2017 and 2018.  Sexual offences continue to be the category of case which is most often the subject of requests for reasons and/or review.”

“The Office also continued its engagement with victim representative groups last year, and participated in the group established by the Minister of Justice and Equality in 2018 to examine protections for vulnerable witnesses in the investigation and prosecution of sexual offences chaired by Tom O’Malley BL.”

The full Annual Report 2019 for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions is now available here on this website.  Any queries should be emailed to: media.liaison@dppireland.ie.