Legal expert predicts that Drumgold will not return to DPP due to Lehrmann controversy.

Legal expert predicts that Drumgold will not return to DPP due to Lehrmann controversy.

ACT Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Shane Drumgold has requested leave until June 13, and Deputy Anthony Williamson SC is set to replace him. Legal commentator Chris Merritt has suggested that Mr Drumgold will likely never return to his job amid the fallout from the high-profile inquiry into the Bruce Lehrmann trial. The ACT government has rushed to water down reports that Mr Drumgold had been stood down, insisting instead that he had elected to take leave himself. However, Merritt said it was unlikely Mr Drumgold would ever return to his role, claiming it was now untenable.


Mr Drumgold’s appearance at the board of inquiry last week drew significant scrutiny after damning revelations over his handling of the case. The DPP was grilled over whether he withheld critical information and documents from the defense and was challenged on his claims of police misconduct. Mr Drumgold made hefty allegations against ACT Policing in a letter to Police Chief Neil Gaughan in November, calling for an inquiry. Repeating his claims last week, Mr Drumgold sensationally suggested it was “possible if not probable” there was a conspiracy involving federal Senator Linda Reynolds, AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw, and investigating police to “make a matter go away.”


The top prosecutor was forced to backflip on the claim after coming under fire from inquiry chairman Walter Sofronoff KC and counsel representing the federal police Kate Richardson SC. Ms Richardson said the possible conspiracy raised earlier in the week represented a “conspiracy involving the perversion of justice.” After accepting the premise of the question, Mr Drumgold was pressed to concede that he should not have made any suggestion given it “could not be a graver allegation.” Mr Drumgold had earlier claimed the investigating police officers had a “passion for this prosecution to fail,” which was further expanded when Mr Lehrmann’s defense counsel appeared before the inquiry this week.


The public hearings will return next week when investigating police are expected to take the stand. Mr Sofronoff will hand down his report to the ACT government on June 31. The fallout from the inquiry has been significant, with Mr Drumgold’s future as DPP in question. The allegations of conspiracy and police misconduct have raised concerns about the integrity of the justice system in the ACT. It remains to be seen what action will be taken to address these issues and restore public trust in the legal system.


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