Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 12 Hansard (Tuesday, 29 November 2022) . . Page.. 3933 ..
for bail to attend another funeral. Bail was granted, despite identical circumstances to the previous breach, and against the wishes of the prosecution, who opposed bail. That prisoner has now breached bail again, and is currently at large, with the police asking the public for assistance. Attorney, how does the public keep faith in a system where a prisoner is released twice and absconds twice in identical circumstances in less than three months?
MR RATTENBURY: Mr Hanson has now conflated a number of matters. In his previous question he talked about a review of the Bail Act. What we have seen in recent times is Mr Hanson and other commentators calling for a review of the Bail Act, bail, sentencing and the entire judiciary. These are all quite different things. What I have indicated—as I have said on Ms Lee’s question earlier—is that the government is looking at the conditions around bail. We are examining how the ACT’s laws compare to other jurisdictions, and we are contemplating, as I outlined earlier, whether the Bail Act meets the expectations of this community and this Assembly, to ensure that judicial officers have the powers they need.
There will then be a question of judicial officers exercising their discretion. That is what we pay them to do. That is the responsibility that we put on them. Under the separation of powers, those are not politically directed decisions. Mr Hanson well knows all of those things.
Mr Hanson: It’s my fault, is it?
MR RATTENBURY: Mr Hanson would like to be in charge of bail decisions. He has just said, “It should be my call.” That does not respect the separation of powers.
Mr Hanson: On a point of order. It is ridiculous for the Attorney-General to make that assertion. Mr Rattenbury is not answering the question. He is seeking to debate the question, and in doing so he is trying to somehow apportion blame for what is happening to the opposition. It is ridiculous.
MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Hanson, you have made your point of order. There is no point of order. I remind members to be very mindful of continuing resolution 10, where it says that if matters are active before the court they cannot be discussed. So use general terms only, if this is going to be the theme of a number of questions. Mr Rattenbury, your time has expired.
MR HANSON: Attorney-General, what resources are put in place to prevent repeat breaches of day-release bail?
MR RATTENBURY: I am not quite sure of the question Mr Hanson is asking. As he knows, under the act a range of factors are considered in determining whether somebody is likely to meet their bail conditions, including the likelihood of people breaching their bail. Those are there at the initial decision-making by the judicial officer. Then, depending on someone’s bail conditions, they can have requirements to report. I think that that is what he is asking. Forgive me if I have misunderstood the question, but there are a range of requirements that people have to fulfil under those bail conditions that are about ensuring people do as they are directed to do under their bail conditions.