Local barrister Christian Rocca has been appointed Gibraltar’s first Director of Public Prosecutions and will carry responsibility for criminal prosecutions.
Mr Rocca’s appointment by the Attorney General, Michael Llamas, QC, for an initial period of five years was confirmed at a press briefing yesterday.
The creation of the role of DPP ensures Gibraltar’s system is more akin to that of the United Kingdom where the DPP and Attorney General are two separate appointments.
This ensures that the Attorney General can concentrate on being the chief legal advisor to the Government.
The DPP heads up the Office of Criminal Prosecutions and Litigation, which performs in Gibraltar a role equivalent to the Crown Prosecution Service in the UK.
He will oversee the running of that office on a day-to-day basis and will carry out criminal law and litigation work on behalf of the Attorney General.
“Gibraltar has never had one and this forms a very important part of the reform of the government law offices that I personally have been embarked upon since I became Attorney General,” Mr Llamas told reporters.
The appointment follows a restructure of the offices and the creation of three separate offices: an office of parliamentary counsel; the office of criminal prosecution and litigation; and an advisory office.
“So we’ve restructured that properly, we’ve had a head in each one of them but we suffered from the historical position that the Attorney General in Gibraltar effectively carried out the role of DPP,” Mr Llamas said.
He added that he had “no hesitation” in choosing Mr Rocca as the successful candidate.
“I’m delighted that we’ve been able to recruit somebody who has the gravitas and the competence that Christian has, he’ll be a massive asset to the government law offices in a very important role because he will effectively be discharging all the criminal functions in Gibraltar and other things as well but that will be the bulk of his function.”
“He has enormous experience in that area and I see his appointment as a massive step forward in what we are trying to achieve for the government law offices.”
Prior to his appointment Mr Rocca was a partner at Isola’s where he has worked for the past 24 years before which he worked at the Supreme Court as a bailiff and usher.
Mr Rocca explained that it was a difficult decision to leave Isola’s, but he said: “this was a role that I’d never made a secret about wanting to get it if I could.”
“Criminal law is something I’ve always practiced so it’s a perfect role that I thought was for me.”
“It’s been an absolute honour to have been appointed the first DPP, as a Gibraltarian as well,” Mr Rocca said as he thanked Mr Llamas.
“I hope I can bring a lot to the role and help improve the government law offices.”