Tasmanian Liberals

Tasmanian Liberals

2017-18 Budget

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The Hodgman Liberal Government has today released a discussion paper regarding proposed changes to Tasmania’s bail laws to address long-standing community concerns of offenders being released on bail, only to reoffend.

The community and police are tired of offenders committing crimes after being granted bail, and it is clear changes are needed to restore community confidence in the justice system and to prioritise community safety.

The paper outlines several potential changes to the existing laws, including introducing the presumption against bail for those alleged to have committed serious crimes, particularly of a violent or sexual nature, as well as for repeat offenders or those who have shown a propensity to breach bail conditions or court orders in the past.

If enacted, these changes would mean that offenders charged with serious crimes will have to demonstrate why they should be bailed, rather than the Prosecution needing to demonstrate why they shouldn’t be.

Serious crimes that will fall under these requirements include:

* Murder;

* Manslaughter;

* Wounding;

* Grievous Bodily Harm;

* Kidnapping;

* Producing Child Exploitation Material;

* Distributing Child Exploitation Material;

* Arson;

* Abduction;

* Aggravated Armed Robbery;

* Armed Robbery; and

* Serious Drug Trafficking.

The paper also outlines changes regarding the use of bench justices, to provide clarity on who is able to grant bail and under what circumstances it will be granted.

These proposed reforms will ensure the bail system operates in line with community expectations, and the responses to the discussion paper will be collated by the Department.

They will then consult with legal stakeholders and draw on the work of other jurisdictions to ensure any changes have the desired effect of prioritising community safety and keeping dangerous offenders behind bars, not roaming the streets.

Elise Archer, Minister for Justice