Police will have new powers to remand an accused person in custody and bail justices will have a more limited role, under the second wave of bail reforms to be introduced by the Andrews Labor Government today.
The Bail Amendment (Stage Two) Bill will allow senior police officers to remand a person in custody for up to 48 hours until a court is available to hear their application for bail.
Under the new police remand system, where police refuse bail, an accused will be required to be brought before a court as soon as practicable and the accused will not be able to make a further application to a bail justice within the 48 hour timeframe.
In line with Justice Paul Coghlan’s second report into the bail system, the increased police remand powers will not apply to children, Aboriginal people or vulnerable adults, such as those with a cognitive impairment.
The reforms will also clarify the courts’ power to grant or refuse bail to an accused who is appearing on summons. This will mean that the courts may remand an accused who is appearing on summons on application by the prosecution or on their own motion.
The Bill will also clarify the tests for granting bail – the unacceptable risk, show compelling reason and show exceptional circumstances tests – by setting out when each of the tests for bail should apply.
The unacceptable risk test will be strengthened by emphasising the importance for decisions makers to take into account a person’s potential risk to community safety.
The reforms complete the legislative actions outlined as part of the Labor Government’s response to the first report of the Bail Review, and delivers on a number of legislative reforms recommended in the second report of the review, which was conducted following the Bourke Street tragedy.
Quotes attributable to Attorney-General Martin Pakula
“We’re overhauling the system to improve community safety and make it harder than ever for people to get bail.”
“Strengthening the bail tests will ensure that risk to community safety is given a higher priority when deciding whether to grant bail.”
Quote attributable to Minister for Police Lisa Neville
“This has been a long-awaited reform between The Police Association and Victoria Police and it will give police the powers they need to remand serious offenders in custody until a court can hear a bail application.”