Silence lingers on DPP position

Tim Ellis
Tim Ellis

THE state government is remaining silent on the position of Tasmania's top prosecutor  two weeks after he was found to have caused the death of a young woman.

In a TV interview last week Natalia Pearn's parents called for the Director of Public Prosecutions, Tim Ellis, SC, to be sacked over the death of their daughter. 

A court found the 27-year-old West Launceston hairdresser died instantly when Ellis,  driving in the wrong lane of the Midland Highway, slammed into her hatchback head-on. 

Following the collision in March 2013 Ellis was charged with causing death by negligent driving.

He was found guilty by Hobart magistrate Chris Webster, who rejected the defence's argument that Ellis was asleep at the time of the crash.

Miss Pearn's mother, Kris, told  A Current Affair  that said she cried every day for her daughter. 

``I want his job gone, plain and simple, because how can he . . . go back to that job after taking Natalia's life or taking anybody's life and prosecute people for breaking the law,'' she said. 

Under the DPP act a director can be removed from office if he is found guilty of misbehaviour, which is not defined in the legislation. 

Immediately after the finding Ellis's lawyer Michael O'Farrell, SC, foreshadowed an appeal against the finding, however, nothing has been lodged with the Supreme Court as yet.

Ellis has about a week before the appeal window closes. 

The government would not say what contingencies were in place if there was an appeal.  

The process could encounter difficulties as some judges may be unwilling to hear the matter given Ellis is a long-serving legal practitioner who is widely known in the field.

The state's most two senior magistrates disqualified themselves from hearing the initial case to avoid any public perception of bias.

An interstate coroner and prosecutor were also brought in for the case.

Ellis has not acted in his role since the crash, in which he was injured, and remains on full pay entitlements.

He is due to be sentenced on July 22.

A spokesman for Attorney-General Vanessa Goodwin said it was inappropriate to comment while the matter was before the court. 

Deputy director Daryl Coates, SC, has been acting DPP since November.