About the DPP

Lawyer's wig

The primary function of the Director of Public Prosecutions is to:

  • determine whether to institute proceedings on behalf of the State against a person for an offence or a crime on indictment and,
  • if so, conduct those proceedings.

The Director is an independent statutory officer but reports to Parliament through the Attorney-General.

The Office of Director of Public Prosecutions provides the following criminal law services to the State of Tasmania:

  • conducts all criminal prosecutions on indictment in the Supreme Court and some summary criminal matters in the Magistrates Courts, where required
  • conducts the prosecution of regulatory offences
  • represents agencies in appeal from Magistrates Courts to the Supreme Court, and in tribunal or board hearings involving government agencies
  • represents the Crown in appeals to the Court of Criminal Appeal and the High Court.

In addition to criminal services, the Office also provides counsel to assist the Coroner and acts for the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services in child safety matters.

The DPP represents the State of Tasmania.  It does not provide legal assistance to you or victims of crime.

If you are the victim of a crime, please contact the Victims Support Services.

If you require legal assistance, you should contact your own solicitor or the Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania.

An independent office

The Director acts independently of the government and of political influence. The Director also acts independently of inappropriate or sectional interests in the community and of inappropriate influence by the media. The Director is independent of police and other investigating bodies and agencies. The Director’s functions are also carried out independently of the courts.

The Director is assisted in carrying out his functions by the Deputy Director (who acts in his absence), Crown prosecutors and administrative staff employed in the Office.

A key aspect of maintaining the Director’s independence and objectivity is not engaging in public discourse or providing commentary on what decisions he will be making with regard to any upcoming charges, discharges or whether or not he will be appealing a particular decision. The objective of this policy is not to avoid transparency or accountability, but rather to ensure that the Director, Deputy Director and Crown prosecutors can undertake their duties as fairly as possible, without undue external influence.

Who we are

Director of Public Prosecutions

Daryl Coates, Director of Public Prosecutions

Daryl Coates SC is Tasmania’s Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). He was appointed in November 2015 after acting in the position since November 2013.

Mr Coates studied at the University of Tasmania where he completed the combined degrees of Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Law in March 1985. He began work at the Office of the DPP in 1986 employed as Crown Counsel in the area of summary prosecutions, child protection work, coronial inquests, indictable crime and criminal appeals. In 2000 he was appointed a Crown Law Officer pursuant to s1 of the Criminal Code enabling him to sign indictments on behalf of the Crown. He has significant experience in conducting complex and lengthy trials.

Mr Coates was appointed a Senior Counsel in 2003 and he was appointed Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions in March 2004 where he was responsible for the criminal section of the Office of the DPP.

In September 2008 he was appointed as Deputy Chairperson of the Legal Profession Disciplinary Tribunal and in 2009 he was appointed as Chairperson.

Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions

Linda Mason, Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions

Linda Mason is currently the Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions. She was appointed to the newly created position in February 2016.

Ms Mason completed a combined Science and Law degree at the University of Tasmania. She was admitted to practice in 1994. She has practised in the area of criminal law for in excess of 20 years including prosecuting summary and indictable crime and appeals before the Court of Criminal Appeal, with particular expertise in the prosecution of sexual assault crimes and crimes of violence.

Ms Mason was appointed a Crown Law Officer in 2010.

She is a member of the Sentencing Advisory Council of Tasmania and the Board of Legal Education.

The office

The office consists of

  • Senior Crown counsel
  • Legal practitioners
  • Witness assistance officers
  • Forensic accountant
  • Child safety legal practitioners
  • Family violence and sexual assault legal practitioners
  • Law clerks
  • Administrative staff


Tasmania was the first State to establish an independent prosecuting office when the Office of the Crown Advocate was established in 1973. The name was then changed to the Director of Public Prosecutions in 1986. Prior to this all prosecutions in Tasmania were undertaken by professional staff employed in the Solicitor-General’s Department.

Previous Crown Advocates/Directors

1973 - 1977  The Honourable Henry Cosgrove QC

1977 - 1982  The Honourable William Cox QC

1982 - 1984  Mr Peter Cranswick QC

1986 - 1999  Mr Damian Bugg QC

1999 - 2015  Mr Tim Ellis SC