Bail Amendment Bill - Submission
The Police Association is supportive of the intent of the Bail Amendment Bill and the improvements to bail law proposed in the bill. In our view the current bail system is not fundamentally flawed or in need of a major overhaul, so we see these incremental changes as appropriate. The reforms contained in this bill will be greeted positively by members.
From an Association point of view, the greatest potential benefit from this bill is in the ability to arrest (without warrant) a defendant aged under 17 years for breach of bail.
We also believe the ability to arrest such offenders once they have committed a bail breach would be extremely beneficial in imposing some consequence for breach, and thus accountability for complying with the restrictions imposed by the Court as a condition of their release on bail.
However there are some issues with the bill as drafted (clause 26).
The first is the power to arrest without warrant is limited to a breach that is “a breach in a significant respect”, or a repeated breach. It is unclear what is meant by a “significant” breach. Our submission is that it should be deleted.
The second is that it is proposed (clause 26, new section 240(3)) that breaches of curfews be dealt with through a new power for a constable to “return” the young person to their parents or guardians. There are difficulties in introducing a new concept of “return”, and it unnecessary to do so. It is our submission that this power should simply be one of arrest.