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Changes to bail – May 2018

From 21 May 2018, the Bail Act 1977 is amended to clarify the presumptions and tests that apply to bail.

Sunday 20 May 2018 at 12:00 am

From 21 May 2018, the Bail Act 1977 is amended to clarify the presumptions and tests that apply to bail. Instead of 'show cause', an expanded list of offences apply where a person accused will need to 'show compelling reasons' why bail should be granted. These are set out in new Schedule 2 of the Act. Another schedule lists offences where an accused will need to show exceptional circumstances why bail should be granted. These changes apply to any bail applications or appeals that happen after 20 May 2018.

Other changes include the ability for a bail decision maker to defer a bail decision if an accused person is intoxicated or drug affected. Bail will also be more difficult for a person who commits further offences in circumstances where they are already at conditional liberty, for example if they are on parole, or a community corrections order.

See Key changes to bail in 2018.

Bail and family violence

From 21 May 2018, a person who is charged with persistent contravention of a family violence intervention order or threatening to kill in the context of family violence, must show compelling reasons why they should be eligible for bail. This applies to bail applications or appeals on or after this date, regardless of when the offence was committed.

Bail decision-makers must ask if there is a family violence intervention order or safety notice against the accused and consider whether there is a risk that the accused person would commit family violence and whether this risk could be reduced by adding conditions to the family violence orders.

If there is an inconsistency between bail conditions and conditions in a family violence order or safety notice, then it is the family violence conditions that prevail to the extent of any inconsistency.

See Family violence and bail.