Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 6 Hansard (19 June) . . Page.. 2140 ..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
prosecution and the defence, before determining whether or not the grant of bail would be appropriate, having regard to the statutory criteria for granting bail.
In relation to recommendation 9, which concerns bail for persons who re-offend while on bail for another offence, the government notes that amendments to give effect to the commission's recommendations have already been enacted. The government proposes to review the operation of the amended provision, at section 9A of the Bail Act, after two years.
We will use the results of the review to decide whether the amended provisions are appropriate or whether further changes are desirable. In the short term, we propose to make a minor, technical amendment to clarify the relationship between section 9A and section 22 of the Bail Act to resolve a circularity, identified by the Federal Court in Achanfuo-Yeobah v R.
The government does not support recommendation 12, in which the commission proposes to repeal and replace section 8A of the Bail Act. That section concerns the grant of bail to persons charged with domestic violence offences. The commission's recommendation was strongly opposed by the DPP, the Women's Legal Centre, the Australian Federal Police, the Victims of Crime Co-ordinator, the Domestic Violence Crisis Service and the Domestic Violence Prevention Council. The government agrees with these agencies that section 8A serves the valuable purpose of promoting the safety of victims of domestic violence by ensuring that due regard is given to concerns about their future safety.
The government response addresses four additional bail issues, which emerged after the release of the commission's report. These issues concern undertakings to appear for persons granted bail after arrest for a breach of the peace, bail conditions involving supervision by Corrective Services or youth justice services, reconsideration of bail decisions when new evidence comes to light and the grant of bail to persons arrested for breaching periodic detention orders. I consider it appropriate for these issues to be addressed as part of the package of legislative reforms flowing from the commission's report.
In formulating its response to the commission's report, the government was guided by the principle, which underlies the Bail Act, that an accused person should only be deprived of his or her liberty before trial where the evidence available to the decision maker justifies that deprivation, having regard to the risk of the accused person failing to appear at trial, re-offending while on bail, harassing a victim, interfering with evidence or intimidating witnesses. The proposed amendments will assist bail decision makers to focus clearly on this risk assessment process, so that they do not lose sight of the underlying principles of the Bail Act when exercising their functions under this act. I move:
That the Assembly takes note of the paper.
Mr Quinlanpresented the following papers: