Bail Laws Protect Families, Must Be Maintained

Media Release 6 March 2018
Family First NZ says that the current bail laws which were strengthened in 2013 protect families from repeat and high-risk offenders and are designed to prevent repeats of the Christie Marceau tragedy.

“Public safety should be the court’s primary consideration, and the burden of proof must be on those charged with the worst offences and with the highest risk of reoffending while on bail. The Coroner’s report emphasises the importance of information-sharing between agencies to ensure that the courts make the right decision which prioritises public safety and considers the needs and protection of victims,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“There were many reasons why the law was changed and should not be repealed or weakened by the current government. Natasha Hayden was slain by Tauranga man Michael Curran at McLaren Falls in 2005 while he was awaiting trial for the murder of 2-year-old Tauranga toddler Aaliyah Morrissey. 17-year-old Augustine Borrell was stabbed to death at a party in the Auckland suburb of Herne Bay in 2007 by Haiden Davis who was on bail for another violent crime. Vanessa Pickering was murdered by Malcolm Chaston while he was on bail. The man accused of Auckland teenager Christie Marceau was on bail at the time of the alleged murder. Last year Ramnitesh Avinash had been in court for threatening to kill his partner, Inayat Kawthar, and assault with a weapon. Police opposed bail, but the community magistrate let him go. Ten days later, his 24-year-old partner was dead, fatally stabbed by her boyfriend in South Auckland before he died by a railway track in the area.”

“Ministry of Justice figures released in 2012 revealed that 23 people were convicted of murders committed while free on bail over a five-year period, and a further 21 were convicted of “homicide-related” offences committed while on bail, including manslaughter, attempted murder and driving causing death. Over the same period, almost 70,000 offenders committed new crimes after being released on bail.”

“The number of serious crimes previously committed while on bail proved the urgent need for improving public safety, and to ensure that those accused of serious offences would find it more difficult to get bail,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“The simple fact is that crimes cannot be committed when a person is incarcerated. That is part of the reason why our crime rate has been dropping.”

“Bail is a privilege, not a right – and the rights of the public to protection from repeat and high-risk offenders should take precedence.”

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