ACT Bail Act taking liberties: Law Society
THE ACT Law Society has condemned proposed changes to the territory’s Bail Act 1992, arguing they are in breach of the ACT Government’s own Human Rights Act 2004.
The proposed changes were also poorly drafted, argued president of the Law Society Bill Redpath. His comments came as the Society sent its response to the amendments to all members of the territory’s Legislative Assembly.
The Society’s concern centred on a proposal to reverse the onus of proof for bail hearings for serious charges such as murder.
“[This] contradicts the ideal of innocent until proven guilty. This principle is enshrined in s22(1) of the ACT Human Rights Act,” Redpath said.
As well, the concept of “special or exceptional” circumstances was not defined. And there were other technical difficulties with the legislation, Redpath said.
The Law Society called for “reason not hysteria or over-reaction” and requested the Government refer the matter to the Criminal Law Consultative Committee to prepare a measured response to change in this area.
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