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Collins delivers on tougher bail laws

Hon Judith Collins
Minister of Justice

28 August 2013 Media Statement
Collins delivers on tougher bail laws

A Bill that makes it harder for serious offenders to get bail has passed its third and final reading in Parliament today.

Justice Minister Judith Collins says the Bail Amendment Bill delivers this Government’s commitment to review aspects of the bail system to improve New Zealanders’ safety.

“This Government promised it would review our bail laws to make New Zealand safer and protect the public,” Ms Collins says.

“The Bail Amendment Bill delivers our commitment to putting victims at the heart of our criminal justice system.”

Changes to bail laws include:

• increasing the number of situations where a defendant will be subject to a reverse burden of proof in bail decisions. A reverse burden of proof means that the defendant has to prove that he or she should be released on bail, rather than the prosecutor proving that the defendant should not be released on bail.

• young defendants aged 17 will now be subject to the standard test for bail if they have previously been sentenced to imprisonment. All defendants aged 18 and 19 will now be subject to the standard test for bail.

• new powers to deal with defendants under 17 years of age who breach their bail conditions. Police will be able to arrest a young defendant who repeatedly breaches their bail conditions.

• legislating the electronically monitored bail regime to ensure consistent practices in courts across New Zealand.

Ms Collins says the Bill strikes the right balance between public safety and a defendant’s right to be considered innocent until proven guilty.

ENDS

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