A former corruption fighter has been appointed as Western Australia’s new Director of Public Prosecutions, with Robert Owen confirmed in the job he has been acting in since earlier this year.
Mr Owen began his five year tenure as DPP this week, an appointment confirmed by Attorney General John Quigley.
He replaces Amanda Forrester SC, who moved from the bar table to the Supreme Court bench in July this year.
A former police and intelligence officer with the WA Police Force and the Corruption and Crime Commission, Mr Owen was admitted to practice as a lawyer in 2008.
In 2011 he started Owen Criminal Lawyers, before joining the Aboriginal Legal Service of WA in 2013 where he served as counsel, and oversaw a large criminal caseload.
Between May 2019 and May 2022, Mr Owen was both a Senior State Prosecutor and Acting Senior Consultant State Prosecutor for the Office of the DPP, managing complex court matters and assisting other prosecutors.
His recent cases have included the prosecution of contractors caught in the web of bribery, fraud and corruption at the top of the North Metropolitan Health Service, and a man who killed his wife believing she was a ghost.
Most recently in his capacity as Acting Senior Consultant State Prosecutor, he headed a trial team with oversight of senior prosecutors and their matters proceeding to trial.
“Mr Owen was selected from a highly competitive field of candidates,” Mr Quigley said.
“Mr Owen has been instrumental in the effective and professional representation of WA in complex superior court matters, including homicide and corruption cases.”
In another appointment, top shelf barrister Sam Vandongen SC will become a Supreme Court judge next month.
Appointed a Senior Counsel in 2010, Mr Vandongen has participated in more than 170 appeals before the WA Court of Appeal and the High Court of Australia, as well as countless trials.
He will fill the position vacated by Justice Stephen Hall, who recently became a Judge of the WA Court of Appeal.
“He is highly regarded in the legal profession and brings with him a mountain of experience as both a prosecutor and defence counsel in trials at all levels,” Mr Quigley said.
“His impressive record in many cases in the High Court, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and other jurisdictions makes him an exemplary choice for this role.”