DPP SINKING: Jeremy Rapke is in denial but his demise is just a matter of time

panicbutton The Victorian Director of Public Prosecutions Jeremy Rapke is struggling to cope with the pressure of revelations in last week’s Sunday Herald Sun that he has had an “inappropriate relationship” with a thirty-one year old woman Diana Karamicov who he recommended for promotion to the statutory office of Associate Crown Prosecutor.

Rapke has denied any wrongdoing but given the magnitude of the allegations, his denial has seemed rather muted.

He has been accused of a serious act of corruption by the nation’s best-read newspaper and there’s no anger, no threat of defamation proceedings, just a brazen denial of the kind delivered by a man not expecting to ever be held to account.

BEYOND ACCOUNTABILITY
Rapke is one of a number of public officials who while theoretically accountable to the Parliament – and paid generously by taxpayers – are actually not accountable to anyone at all, ever. Judges, the Ombudsman, the DPP, the Auditor-General, the Electoral Commissioners are all independent from the government of the day and that’s perfectly reasonable. But each of these holders of these high offices must be accountable to independent scrutiny when serious allegations of wrongdoing occur.

Power corrupts, absolutely power corrupts absolutely.

The closest thing to any level of accountability that judges and magistrates occasionally face is from the press and that is very rare and usually only provoked by the most foolish of misdeed or misstatement.

The DPP answers only in the loosest sense to the Attorney-General. He can’t remove him and it would only be possible with bi-partisan political support and a vote of both houses of Parliament. Parliament isn’t sitting before the next state election but VEXNEWS believes the Liberals are already leaning towards a full outside inquiry into Rapke and that Hulls is resisting it, for now. If the government is re-elected that view could well change unless Rapke can restore the loss of confidence he has enjoyed from his own colleagues over this scandal. Hulls and Rapke seem to get on reasonably well but how much political damage he is willing to endure in defending him is yet to be tested.

DOES RAPKE HAVE SOMETHING TO HIDE?
Rapke has actively resisted any inquiry into his conduct or dealings by a retired judge. He has failed to put his denial of inappropriate relations in his office on oath. He has not really done anything other than stonewall and deny, hoping that the structure of the office he holds (designed to keep the prosecution process separate from political influence) will prevent him from being held to account for his activities on the job.

It took him five full days of carnage before his office could send out this morning’s press release.

It fails to address the serious issues of division, distrust and corruption allegations that have made the Office of Public Prosecutions a statewide joke this week.

LAUGHING STOCK
In one trial this week, attended by a VEXNEWS Investigator, a County Court judge was referring to the past weekend and explained that he “spluttered into his Weeties” after reading the Sunday Herald-Sun.

He did not make any comment at all about the veracity of the allegations facing Rapke but VEXNEWS noticed the reaction of all of those in the court-room including that of Anne Hassan, the prosecutor in the case and her instructing solicitor.

It was not the stony-faced reaction of those outraged at the vile slurs against their boss and leader, they joined in with the rest of the court in having a big laugh about the whole matter in gallows-humour style. This came as some surprise to our observer who expected some team loyalty. Clearly they are a divided house at the Office of Public Prosecutions.

Perhaps Rapke’s representatives in the court were just trying to make nice with the judge. More likely, they are just as worried about it – and contemptuous about those involved– as the rest of us.

panicstations

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11 Comments

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11 responses to “DPP SINKING: Jeremy Rapke is in denial but his demise is just a matter of time

  1. Contrition pays

    The Age has learned that Mr Rapke witnessed the transfer to Ms Karamicov of her matrimonial home in January, 2008, after she and her husband had separated. The Age yesterday asked Mr Rapke to confirm that he had witnessed Ms Karamicov signing the document.

    Ann Strunks, senior communications manager with the OPP, responded: ”It is not the habit of this Office (sic) to attempt to verify the identity of signatories to documents pertaining to private business transactions.

    ”In fact, it is disturbing that such an unethical request would be made by a supposedly responsible … newspaper.”

  2. wolf

    “,who are all appropriately qualified,”

    wonder who insisted this be part of the statement during the negotiations?

  3. Giuseppe De Simone

    If 85% of those prosecuted were convicted, that means 15% were found not guilty. That means the DPP gets it wrong when he decides to prosecute in 1 case out of 6. That’s pretty pitiful. 1 person in 6 is hounded by the forces of the state, possibly forced to sell the family home to pay the legal costs of a defence, while the DPP laughs all the way to a pension and gets paid regardless of incompetence. Perhaps if Rapke had to sell his house to pay for the defence costs of some innocent citizen he prosecuted, he might be more careful about exercising his prosecutorial discretion. However, the State picks up the costs of his mistakes. He is a disgrace. He shouldn’t just be sacked, he should lose his pension and be sued for defrauding the State because of all the money he has wasted. Imagine a staff member who got it wrong 1 in 6 times. In any other occupation, he or she would be looking up the phone number for Centrelink.

  4. The Untouchables

    Why hasn’t the Ombudsman jurisdiction in looking over the shoulder of Parliamentary officers on administrative matters? Is Robo Hulls engaged in the culture of protecting the boys that are under his review? There is a pattern of abuse and misuse of office within the parliamentary officers domain and they are unaccountable. Unaccountable to the Parliament and unaccountable to the public.

  5. justice denied - lives destroyed

    Rapke has demonstrated on more then one occasion that his “professional judgment is seriously lacking.

    The OPP pursuit of unsubstantiated attacks on leaders of Melbourne’s Greek Community has seriously undermined the independence and professionalism of his department.

    In what was a clear case of unsupported evidence Rapke pursued his vendetta at all costs. Costs mounting into the millions of dollars and had destroyed the lives of innocent people.

    The Government must pay compensation to victims of the OPP here the case made against them had no merit or standing.

    Confidence in the OPP will only be restored when there is a purge at the top. Rapke must go.

  6. Hondo

    @ Justice denied- Do not be surprised if the attacks against Greek community leaders were not motivated by Rapke’s “plaything” who I take it is of FYROMian descent and would more than likely be serving as a pawn to facilitate their maximalist and anti-Hellenic agenda. It is something of a conspiracy theory but once you examine the unsubstantiated allegations it does become food for thought. My suggestion to these leaders is to sue the OPP and push for the absolute maximum damages they are entitled having had their reputations sullied by this Machiavellianism and wanton abuse of power.

  7. we.know.the.truth

    So apart from voting liberal at the next election and hoping they do something, what can we do to get rid of this sleazebag?

  8. Hondo

    @We.know- it appears my most excellent friend that we won’t necessarily have to do anything; the staff of the OPP will testify as to the innumerable indiscretions and the Labor party will be compelled to sack them all.

    But vote Liberal anyway; just to make sure they are well and truly out!

  9. shenannigans

    I like the way he keeps using the term “all” to protect her. The other two have over 20 years experience each, she has about 5. Really did he think no-one would notice? Like “The first two candidates are good we won’t bother checking the third”.

    A couple of human shields aren’t enough to protect the dirty old man and his mistress. You can kind of excuse her as being young and foolish, but a 61 year old must know better. He’s destroyed his career, her career, the credibility of the office and possibly the careers of a couple of innocent pawns all for the sake of getting his end in. What an idiot.

  10. Pragmatist

    @shenannigans:

    Would it not be useful to depersonalise this issue somewhat.

    Surely what is needed is for the DPP to be asked to arrange for the publication of the criteria detail he used to select the Appointees to the positions in issue. This would surely be a very resonable request in the circumstances.

    This is not about the actual people appointed, but the Job Description, skills, experience and educational requirements needed for the Appointment of any Assoc. Crown Prosecutors, both in General and in this case in particular.

    This may then validate all the recent Appointments on their own merits, while demonstrating to any other Senior OPP staff why they were overlooked in favour of the incumbants.

    It could also provide a guide for those other staff within the OPP to aspire to when planning their own career paths.

    And thus reassured and justified, we could all get back to our lives without concern.

    Of course conversely… it may reveal any serious shortfalls in any Appointees skills, experience and educational requirements to properly fulfill the job description.

    This then would confirm the level of impropriety conducted if there is any.

    Of course an unwillingness by the DPP to respond to a request to make the depersonalised criteria public could only be construed in the worst possible light as what does anyone have to fear from publishing what is basically a Job Description and Selection Criteria.

  11. HS reader

    The Sunday Herald Sun, October 24, published a four page expose on Rapke and the OPP. A most telling article. Not one review of the events reported in Vexnews,

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