Bail harder to get under new law

NZ Herald 29 August 2013  
Up to 350 more people could be refused bail each year as a result of law changes designed to prevent the release of serious offenders considered likely to offend again.

The changes are targeted at offenders such as those who killed teenagers Christie Marceau and Augustine Borrell. Christie was killed by Akshay Chand in 2011, and Augustine by Haiden Davis in 2007. Both Chand and Davis were on bail at the time.

The passing of the Bail Amendment Bill yesterday marked a fundamental shift in legal principles in New Zealand as it reversed the onus of proof for alleged offenders in bail cases. A person on a murder charge or repeat violence, drugs or sex charges would now have to prove why they should be bailed.

Under the previous law, the Crown had to show why defendants should be locked up.

It coincided with a campaign led by victims’ families called “Christie’s Law”, which demanded even stricter bail laws including regular reviews of judges’ decisions.