Australian Federal Prosecutors & International Criminal Law

As criminal investigations and prosecutions become increasingly transnational in nature, a greater number of Commonwealth prosecutions rely on assistance from foreign law enforcement agencies.

The international work of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP), which primarily relates to extradition and mutual assistance, is coordinated by the International Assistance and Specialist Agencies Practice Group (the “Practice Group”).

The Practice Group also prosecutes matters referred by specialist agencies and coordinates the CDPP’s proceeds of crime functions. Key referring agencies include the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Financial Security Authority.

 

What trends have been observed in recent prosecutions?

In its Annual Report 2017-18, a number of key trends and issues were identified and addressed by the Practice Group.

 

Serious non-compliance in the family day care sector

Working together with the Department of Education and Training, the Practice Group has worked to ensure the efficient prosecution of family day care service operators, educators and parents who engage in fraud.

 

Failure to vote in a federal election

By mutual arrangement with the CDPP, the Australian Electoral Commission carries out prosecutions for non-contested failure to vote matters.

 

An independent prosecution service for Norfolk Island

During 2017–18, the Practice Group partnered with the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities to deliver prosecution services to Norfolk Island (a small Australian island in the South Pacific Ocean), advising on legislative reform of criminal laws applicable on the Island.

 

Which specialist agencies does the Practice Group work with?

Specialist agencies refer matters relating to a diverse range of Commonwealth criminal laws to the Practice Group, which are prosecuted in all jurisdictions throughout Australia. These agencies include:

Australian Building and Construction CommissionDepartment of Health
Australian Bureau of StatisticsDepartment of Industry, Innovation and Science
Australian Commission for Law Enforcement IntegrityDepartment of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities
Australian Communications and Media AuthorityDepartment of Jobs and Small Business
Australian Criminal Intelligence CommissionDirector of National Parks
Australian Electoral CommissionFair Work Ombudsman
Australian Fisheries Management AuthorityForeign Investment Review Board
Australian Federal Police and state and territory policeGreat Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
Australian Financial Security AuthorityMurray Darling Basin Authority
Australian Maritime Safety AuthorityNational Measurement Institute
Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines AuthorityNational Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority
Australian Skills Quality AuthorityOffice of the Australian Information Commissioner
Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise OmbudsmanOffice of the Director of Military Prosecutions
Civil Aviation Safety AuthorityOffice of the National Data Commissioner
Clean Energy RegulatorOffice of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations
ComcareSydney Harbour Federation Trust
Department of DefenceTertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency
Department of Education and TrainingTherapeutic Goods Administration (within the Department of Health)
Department of the Environment and EnergyWine Australia

 

The Practice Group proactively engages with partner agencies to strengthen relationships, foster expertise in areas relating to referrals, and to assist these agencies to achieve their strategic objectives.

 

International Assistance and the prosecution of transnational crime

International assistance, which includes extradition and mutual assistance, is vital for the effective investigation and prosecution of serious offences such as terrorism, human trafficking, drug trafficking, bribery of foreign officials and money laundering offences.

Increasingly, the International Assistance and Specialist Agencies Practice Group seeks cooperation from countries to assist in prosecuting transnational crime and to apprehend and extradite fugitives.

 

Mutual Assistance

Mutual assistance is a formal process underpinned by a number of bilateral treaties and multilateral conventions, which oblige the relevant parties to assist each other in relevant matters. Mutual assistance works in conjunction with international cooperation, which can be seen as a less formal method of assistance.

The Practice Group is responsible for drafting mutual assistance requests to foreign countries to support Australian criminal proceedings for federal offences where charges have been laid against the alleged offender.

 

Extradition

The Attorney-General’s Department has sole responsibility for international extradition for all countries except New Zealand. The Practice Group’s role in extradition is confined to requesting that extradition be sought in Commonwealth matters and the execution of incoming requests from New Zealand.

In the case of outgoing extradition requests, the Practice Group prepares documents in support of requests for extradition in serious cases where a person is wanted for prosecution for an offence against Commonwealth law or to serve a sentence of imprisonment, and is found to be in a foreign country.

Incoming requests from New Zealand are made on a police-to-police basis and are referred to the Practice Group by the Australian Federal Police. The Practice Group appears on behalf of New Zealand in extradition proceedings before a magistrate to determine whether a person will be surrendered, and in any review or appeal arising from those proceedings.

 

Which other key agencies and partners does the Practice Group work with?

 

United States Partners

In 2018, the Group participated in workshops with the United States Department of Justice and FBI to streamline the mutual assistance process between the countries.

 

Australian Federal Police

The CDPP and Practice Group assist the Australian Federal Police (AFP) in their responsibilities for confiscating and recovering proceeds of crime.

The Group also supports international capacity building of AFP liaison officers, including providing training on the admissibility of foreign evidence. This helps to strengthen effective investigation and prosecution of transnational criminal activities.

Nyman Gibson Miralis specialise in complex international investigations involving the CDPP. Contact us if you require assistance.