Tougher bail laws passed

Published: 27 Sep 2016

The NSW Government has reformed the NSW Bail Act in a move expected to help safeguard the community from serious offenders.

The new bail laws have passed through Parliament and will make it tougher for people accused of serious crimes to successfully apply for bail. The reforms include all recommendations made by former Attorney General John Hatzistergos following his independent review of the Bail Act 2013.

NSW Attorney General Brad Hazzard said the new laws place the onus on those accused of the most serious crimes to “show cause” as to why they should not be detained.

“Even if the accused is able to show cause, they will still be remanded in custody if bail authorities determine there is an unacceptable risk they will interfere with witnesses, endanger the safety of the community, commit a serious offence or fail to attend court,” Mr Hazzard said.

The ‘show cause’ provision will only apply to people accused of a serious offences that:

  • carry a life sentence;
  • were committed while on bail or parole;
  • involve the sexual assault of a child;
  • involve the use of a firearm;
  • involve the manufacture or supply of commercial quantities of an illegal drug; or
  • involve a repeat act of serious personal violence.

Suspected offenders refused bail under the old Bail Act cannot make a further application on the basis that there is a new Bail Act.

“We’ve moved to change the Bail Act so that the views of victim’s families, regarding the danger presented by the accused, can be considered in bail applications for serious offences, including those which have a serious impact on the victim or the community”, Mr Hazzard said.

“Community safety should always be front and centre, which is why the Government has been quick to adopt Mr Hatzistergos’ common sense recommendations to strengthen the Bail Act.”

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