Biographies - senior management

Stephen Herron, the Director of Public Prosecutions

DPP Stephen Herron Stephen Herron studied law at Queen’s University Belfast and qualified as a solicitor in 1997. He joined the then Department of the Director of Public Prosecutions in 2002, working as a prosecutor in various roles across the Service including Belfast & Eastern Region, Fraud and Departmental Section and Central Casework.

Stephen was appointed Senior Assistant Director in 2013, taking the organisational lead on a number of criminal justice reform initiatives and overall responsibility for prosecution decisions in over 50,000 cases annually.

He played a key role in the Transformation Programme for the PPS which has involved the roll-out of a digital programme across courts, creation of a specialist prosecution unit for murder and serious sexual offences, the streamlining of regional services, and redesigning the supports provided to victims and witnesses.

He was appointed as Acting Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions in May 2017 and was appointed Director of Public Prosecutions by the Attorney General for Northern Ireland on 2 January 2018.

Michael Agnew, the Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions  Deupty Director Michael Agnew

Michael Agnew studied law at Trinity College Dublin and was a member of the Bar of Northern Ireland from 2000, working on a mix of defence and prosecution cases.

Michael joined the Public Prosecution Service in 2006 and worked within Central Casework Section where he directed upon a range of complex and high-profile cases involving murder, terrorism and organised crime.

He was appointed Assistant Director in 2010 and initially had responsibility for a prosecutorial review of the Bloody Sunday Report. In 2012 he was appointed Assistant Director for Central Casework Section where he had responsibility for the most complex and sensitive casework, including all legacy cases considered by the PPS.

Michael was appointed Senior Assistant Director in 2017 and in April 2018 was appointed Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions by the Attorney General for Northern Ireland.

Marianne O'Kane, Senior Assistant Director

Marianne O'Kane

Marianne O'Kane studied law at Queen's University, Belfast and qualified as a solicitor in 1993, spending five years in general practice. During three years in the Compensation Agency, she also pursued a Masters in Business Administration degree and joined the Office of the DPP as a Senior Prosecutor in 2002.

Since first being appointed to an Assistant Director post in 2007, she has held managerial roles in the Service’s High Court and International Section, Policy and Information Section, Eastern Region and the Serious Crime Unit with lead responsibility for prosecuting serious offences including homicides, serious sexual assaults and cases of human trafficking. 

Marianne has represented the Service in a range of important initiatives, including the establishment of the Victim and Witness Care Unit, the Serious Crime Unit, the Indictable Cases Process and the Gillen Review into the law and procedure in serious sexual offences in Northern Ireland.

Marianne was appointed Senior Assistant Director (Serious Crime and Regions) in January 2019, with organisational leadership of a range of strategic criminal justice reform initiatives and oversight of over 50,000 prosecution decisions annually.

 

Ian Hearst, Senior Assistant Director  Ian Hearst

Ian Hearst studied economics and accounting at Queen's University Belfast and qualified as a chartered accountant in 1988, spending six years in practice with Price Waterhouse in Belfast and London.

Ian moved into industry spending seven years with a multinational textile group and a further six years as a Director with an electrical retail chain. During this period Ian qualified as a Chartered Director with the Institute of Directors. In 2004 Ian was appointed as Finance Director of the newly established Legal Services Commission which administers legal aid within Northern Ireland.

Ian joined the Public Prosecution Service in 2007 as Assistant Director Corporate Services under the sponsorship of Northern Ireland Office. He was lead for the preparation of the PPS for devolution of Policing and Justice in 2010 and its establishment as a non-ministerial department.

In 2012 he was appointed Senior Assistant Director Resource and Change and was responsible for the Transformation Programme in 2015/16 that resulted in the current structure of the organisation today. He has served on the Management Board since 2007 and supported four different Directors in their role as Accounting Officer.