Bill to change Bail Act tabled adds to the possible conditions for release
Suspected criminals could see conditions attached to their police bail in future if it's believed it would protect their safety.
An amendment to the Bail Act, tabled on Friday March 18, adds to the list of circumstances in which officers may apply conditions before releasing someone on bail.
The current reasons for attaching conditions are if police believe the suspect would fail to surrender to custody, commit an offence while on bail or interfere with witnesses.
Now, they can also attach restrictions to a person's freedom if they believe it is for their own safety.
Officers would also be given another option in the list of conditions they can impose.
They can already require, in some circumstances, that someone released on police bail surrender their travel documents, report to police stations on a regular basis or adhere to a curfew.
Under the new legislation, they could also be required to have a surety for their bail.
Government acted last year to toughen up the Bail Act amid concerns those accused of violent crimes were going on the run and threatening witnesses once released from the police cells.
Police had previously been unable to confiscate suspects' passports or forbid them from contacting witnesses.
The new amendment also says police bail conditions may now be applied to those suspected of any offence.
Previously, conditions could only be imposed if the person was being investigated for a serious offence, known as an indictable offence, which must be dealt with by the Supreme Court.
Restrictions can be imposed by the police when they are awaiting a decision from the Director of Public Prosecutions on whether to charge the suspect or not, under the proposed amendment.
They can also be applied after a person has been charged.
In future, persons released on police bail would be subject to arrest without the need for a warrant if police have “reasonable grounds” for suspecting the person has breached the conditions of their bail.
The amendment legislation will be debated at a later date.