Tough new bail laws have ‘no effect’ on remand population

BAIL reforms have had no impact on a 32% increase in remand centre populations across NSW over the past two years, according to new Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research figures.

The rapid build-up of the remand population is simply the result of a surge in arrests for serious offences and the number of people jailed for breaching bail conditions.

The BOCSAR report found changes to the NSW Bail Act initially caused the refusal of bail to drop sharply, as courts and police came to terms with the new procedures.

Court bail refusals dropped to 48.5% of those requested by police in the 12 months from June 2013 to May 2014, when the new laws came into play.

That figure rose to 53.7% over the following year.

"It is also important to understand that you will never get complete consistency between court and police bail decisions because, when a matter reaches court, a more thorough investigation can be undertaken to assess a person's suitability for bail," BOCSAR director Dr Don Weatherburn said.

The police bail refusal rate is actually about 2% lower than in 2012 and 2013.

Court bail refusal rates have returned to the same level they were at in those years.

The new laws introduced a clause forcing suspects accused of serious offences such as murder and child sexual assault to "show cause" as to why they should be granted bail.

Eighty per cent of defendants charged with such offences were refused bail when the amendment was first introduced.

That figure has now increased to 88%. - APN NEWSESK

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