NSW attorney-general Gabrielle Upton has defended the ODPP following reports that Justice Robert Shallcross Hulme had called it incompetent.
Hulme, acting in a murder trial involving Brothers 4 Life leader Mohammed Hamzy, described the ODPP as ‘inefficient’ after only handing over details of documents and crime scene photographs taken in 2013 two weeks prior to trial. The documents had been held by the ODPP since January.
“The attorney-general has full confidence in the Director of Public Prosecutions,” a spokesperson said following the reports.
Hulme said the courts could no longer have confidence in the ODPP when it said the case was ready, and was forced to adjourn the trial, according to The Daily Telegraph.
“I have now been or acted as a judge of this court for over 20 years and I never cease to be surprised at the extent of the incompetence or the inefficiency within the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions,” Hulme said in his judgement.
The DPP Lloyd Babb SC fired back.
“His Honour’s comments are not a fair representation of the performance and dedication of the numerous hardworking lawyers who have worked on behalf of this office over the last 20 years,” he said.
Hamzy was arrested for the alleged murder of fellow Brothers 4 Life member Yehye Amood back in 2013 and has been in jail since his arrest, watching this week’s hearing by video link from Silverwater Jail.
“It seems to me clear that the arraignment judge in the future can have no confidence whatsoever in any statements by the Crown that a case is ready for trial,” said Hulme.
“Such statements might be correct, but if so it will be purely a matter of chance.
“One of those statements was calculated, perhaps inevitably, to embarrass the solicitor for Mr Hamzy who, in consequence, has taken the view that he can no longer appear.”