Out on Bail - the Report of the Criminal Law Reform Committee on Bail
In December 1982 the Criminal Law Reform Committee presented to the Minister of Justice a comprehensive report on bail and made many recommendations for changes in the current law and practice in this area. The primary recommendation of the Committee is that in a majority of circumstances there should be a statutory presumption in favour of bail. The circumstances in which this presumption will operate and the factors to be taken into account in a decision as to whether it is rebutted will be discussed in detail.Although this writer has been critical of some of the detail of the proposed reform, and the implementation of it may require attention to be given to certain matters, it is undoubtedly capable of giving rise to a far more coherent and balanced law of bail than we currently have. The inclusion of the presumption in favour of bail, if it is preserved and observed, indicates a desirable shift in favour of preserving the rights of the accused person who has not yet been convicted. If nothing more comes from the Report than a recognition that these rights are not properly protected at present, the Report will have been a most valuable document. The scheme for the review of bail decisions may also, if adequate reasons are insisted on, allow for a relatively equitable and speedy procedure. It is to be hoped that the Government will see fit to include bail reform in its legislative programme in the near future; and that the strong points in the Report are not reduced or removed to demonstrate the Government's apparent wish to be seen as "getting tough" with those involved in the criminal justice system.