Ugly, divisive and uninformed politics has produced the NSW government’s recently announced bail law reforms, which are not founded on evidence, are not supported by key stakeholders and ultimately will not make NSW a safer place.

A copy of the report by former Attorney General John Hatzistergos and being used by the Government to justify these changes is available here:

Review of Bail Act 2013 Final Report

NSW Greens MP and Justice spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

“These proposed changes take the Bail Act back 10 years to a complex, technical and unprincipled scheme where the presumption of innocence is largely lost.

“It is an ongoing problem in NSW politics that both the Coalition and Labor undermine public confidence in our world-class criminal justice system in pursuit of cheap media copy.

“The Greens have faith in the ability of our judges and magistrates to protect the public interest and rationally apply the existing risk-based bail laws.

“If the recommendations are adopted they will take NSW back to a hybrid scheme where statutory presumptions, rather than the best evidence, will often determine if bail is granted or refused.

“These recommendations undermine the presumption of innocence for every citizen in NSW, and are an attack on this foundation principle of our criminal justice system.

“The proposed changes will see bail decisions based on the alleged offence that was committed rather than the actual risk posed by the accused. This will not make NSW safer.

“Each of these proposed changes will distract the court from its core task of assessing whether or not the grant of bail poses an unacceptable risk. This can only produce confused and conflicted decision making on bail.

“Criminal justice reforms are complex and should never be undertaken with so little evidence.

“These recommendations fit neatly with the legislative record of the former Attorney General John Hatzistergos, who delivered a series of retrograde changes to bail laws,” Mr Shoebridge said.