Page 2040 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 28 June 2023

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which individuals have intentionally posed significant risk, harm or death to innocent people on our roads. Many of these people are repeat offenders out on bail for very similar, often aggravated, dangerous driving offences. This amendment will require the judiciary to not presume bail and to assess all of the available evidence in the bail application as to the public safety risks that this person may present.

Shifting the presumption of bail to a neutral one for these most serious offences will position these crimes alongside manslaughter, sexual assault crimes and drug trafficking crimes. Considering the changes to these crimes in an increase of penalties and greater police powers that passed in the Assembly in the last sitting, it is imperative that amendments to legislation that address how the courts deal with these offences are addressed in a timely way.

A substantial proportion of the fatalities and injuries on our roads are people who have been killed by dangerous drivers. I want to acknowledge the families of those killed on our roads so unnecessarily. Many of those families have been advocating tirelessly for reform. I hear you and I will continue to advocate for reform.

Operation TORIC, a major police initiative that aims to reduce dangerous driving incidents on Canberra’s roads, started in August 2022. The operation has been hailed a major success by ACT Policing, as it has resulted in hundreds of charges targeting recidivist dangerous driving.

The data presented by Operation TORIC is alarming. Between 1 August 2022 and 25 April this year, the police had apprehended 248 offenders and charged them with a staggering 596 offences. Shockingly, more than 40 per cent of these apprehended offenders were on bail, and an additional 22 per cent were under good behaviour obligations, such as drug and alcohol treatment orders, good behaviour orders, parole and intensive correction orders.

In one case, a recidivist offender deliberately rammed a police vehicle with a stolen vehicle and committed further offences, and yet was still granted bail by the court. The DPP opposed bail, with the special magistrate hearing the case agreeing that there were real and significant public safety concerns. Despite all of this, the offender, who has an extensive criminal record, including matters of serious dangerous driving offences, was granted bail. This is just one of the many cases in which people who have been charged with serious offences over and over again are released on bail and they go on to commit further dangerous driving offences, putting our community’s lives at risk.

Another similar case took the life of well-respected citizen and disability campaigner Sue Salthouse. The driver was granted bail on two separate occasions of culpable and dangerous driving and was scheduled to be sentenced. This, however, was abandoned when the accused was taken into custody on separate drug-related driving charges for a third time. Against the prosecution’s objections, a 12-month good behaviour order on the accused was made for the drug offences and fines and a second good behaviour order for the other traffic offences.

These cases highlight the flaws in the bail system and how the recidivist drivers continue to break the law and put community lives at risk. We also saw the incident a


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