MORE than 70 people are expected to be prosecuted in theDistrict or Supreme Court as a result of the Mullighan Inquiry intosexual abuse of children in state care.
Figurescontained in the annual report of the Director of Public Prosecutionsshow there are 371 suspects as a result of the investigation.
About 20 per cent are expected to be prosecuted.
Director of Public Prosecutions Stephen Pallaras used the estimatesin an internal audit of the workload faced by his department. He saidmany cases were likely to be complex and an emerging trend in the waythe matters were defended and other legal complexities placed a heavyburden on the office.
"It is the nature of these matters that there is often more than onevictim," he says. "As a result, they inevitably involve complex areasof law."
The report also said there was likely to be 12 people arrested within a year for sex offences committed before 1982.
There are 40 separate investigations into historic sex offences.
Adding to the number of child sex offence cases, Mr Pallaras saidthe police pedophile taskforce forwarded about 30 new cases to theoffice each year.
Since 2004, 85 files had been given to prosecutors by the task force.
Victims' Rights Commissioner Michael O'Connell said he was pleasedthe Mullighan Inquiry had been able to identify a large number ofsuspects.
"The taking of a young person's innocence through sexual abuse cancause deep and lasting harm," he said. "It is important harm isacknowledged and justice is done."
He said despite some crimes being committed decades ago it remainedimportant to charge offenders. "For many of these victims the crime issuppressed and can put their lives on hold in the hope they can one daybe in a position where they can seek a just outcome," he said.