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NSW Law Reform Commission Report 133 - Bail

The NSW Law Reform Commission Report 133 – Bail – tabled by the NSW Attorney General, Greg Smith SC, on 13 June 2012 – describes the NSW laws as "voluminous, unwieldy, hugely complex" and says "the results are frequently anomalous and unjust". The Report proposes a new, simplified Bail Act.

It is the view of Legal Aid NSW that, in principle, the Report recommendations strike an appropriate balance between achieving the purposes of bail and recognising the constraining principles and concepts to which the criminal justice system as a whole is subject, including the presumption of innocence, no detention without legal cause, no punishment without conviction by due process, a fair trial, individualised justice and consistency in decision making, and the special consideration required in relation to young people.

Legal Aid NSW supports the majority of the recommendations including those concerning:

  1. Entitlement to unconditional release for minor offences
  2. Replacement of the complex structure of presumptions with a single presumption in favour of bail
  3. A new and simplified structure for considerations to be taken into account in making a bail decision, including retention of the justification model
  4. Reforms which ensure that conditions are only imposed where required
  5. Reforms to the procedure for repeat bail applications

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