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New Bail Act comes into force

The New South Wales Bail Act, 2013 came into force on 1 May, 2014, replacing the old Bail Act, 1978. The new act is based on the ‘NSW Law Reform Commission Report 133 – Bail’ Report which described the previous laws as “voluminous, unwieldy, hugely complex” leading to results that are “frequently anomalous and unjust”. 

Among the changes are –

  • the removal of the presumption against bail;
  • an entitlement to release for minor offences;
  • a requirement that the special vulnerability or needs of the accused are considered when bail decisions are made;
  • a requirement that bail conditions are to be no more onerous than necessary;
  • increasing the number of bail applications that may be made by young offenders; and
  • improved guidance for Police about their options when responding to a breach of bail.

Championed by Legal Aid and community groups, it is hoped that these reforms will remedy the large number of young people on remand for breach of bail conditions.

When the Bill was introduced to NSW State Parliament in November 2012 then Premier, Barry O’Farrell stated “under the current law, decisions about bail are made based on the offence a person has been charged with – not the risk they pose to the community. Our reforms will ensure the risk to the community is the first thing taken into account”.

In particular, Courts considering an application for bail will consider whether an accused person poses an unacceptable risk of –

  • endangering the safety of the community;
  • committing further serious offences;
  • interfering with police witnesses; and
  • failing to attend Court when required.

For more information on your legal rights or criminal law matters generally, contact Brazel Moore Lawyers on (02) 4324 7699 to speak to an experienced criminal lawyer today.

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