17 October 2023

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Ms. Catherine Pierse, has today launched her Office’s Annual Report 2022, detailing the diverse range and volume of work carried out across the Office during the year.

In her Foreword of the Annual Report 2022, the Director notes:

“The Report demonstrates the extent of activity across the prosecution service in 2022.  This has been primarily led by an enormous level of court activity across all court levels as the criminal justice system addresses the backlogs caused by Covid-19 and increased case numbers more generally.”

With regard to the increased level of activity, most acute in the Central Criminal Court, she adds:

“Over the past three years, the number of judges in the Central Criminal Court has increased from four to nine, resulting in a significant increase in the level of activity in this Court.  The Central Criminal Court has also increasingly sat outside of Dublin and although this presents challenges, my Office has consistently facilitated the efforts to address backlogs by utilising court venues outside of the capital.”

In relation to delays in the criminal justice system, the Director states:

“…it is of critical importance that the criminal justice system as a whole collaborates to address the delays in the system.  Delays can undermine public trust and confidence and impact in particular the parties to a case: victims, accused persons and witnesses.  In the prosecution service we see first-hand the deep distress of victims when a case is listed to go ahead and then is adjourned at the last minute.  A key objective for everyone in the criminal justice system must be to ensure that cases proceed as quickly as possible, and that all involved have as much certainty as possible about when a case will be dealt with.”

Regarding the level of engagement that takes place with victims, witnesses and other stakeholders, the Director goes on to note that:

“Sometimes the most difficult news for a victim to hear is that a case is not going to be prosecuted at all.  The Office proactively sought training and feedback during 2022 from non-governmental organisations who work with victims in order to inform our engagement, including our reasons letters helping to explain why we decided not to prosecute.”

Commenting on the extent of collaboration that this Office is involved in across the criminal justice system, the Director notes that the Report provides further insight on:

“…the many research projects, working groups, and training projects that my Office led or participated in during 2022.  For example, staff from our Sexual Offences Unit and Superior Courts Section facilitated a nationwide programme of training for the Garda Divisional Protective Services Units.  The objective of this programme was to collaborate with An Garda Síochána to improve the standard of investigation files submitted to our Office and to streamline the processes necessary to ensure that prosecutions can proceed efficiently.  I look forward to building on this collaborative way of working with our stakeholders across the criminal justice system to support improvements for service users across the system.”

The full Annual Report 2022 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.