Bill to toughen up bail crosses the first hurdle

NZ Herald 11 May 2012
People charged with serious crimes would have to prove they can be trusted out at large. A bill which makes it more difficult for serious violent, sexual or Class A drug offenders to get bail has been backed in Parliament at its first reading. If the amendments become law, people charged with serious crimes would have to prove to the Crown they would not be a threat to public safety if allowed out of custody. This change reverses the burden of proof for bail cases involving serious offences. At present, it is usually the prosecutor’s responsibility to prove a defendant should not get bail. The bill was passed yesterday by a vote of 105 in favour to 15 against. National, United Future, Act, the Maori Party and Labour supported the bill and Greens and Mana opposed it. The first reading followed the launch of a community movement called “Christie’s Law” which aimed to tighten bail laws. It was created by the Sensible Sentencing Trust and the parents of Christie Marceau, who was allegedly killed by 19-year-old Akshay Chand.

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