Changes to Queensland’s Bail and Domestic Violence Laws

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On 22 March 2017, Queensland Parliament passed the Bail (Domestic Violence) and Another Act Amendment Bill 2017.

The explanatory notes highlight the policy objectives and reasons for the changes in the law. The objectives of the bill are to reverse the presumption of bail for any person charged with a ‘relevant domestic violence offence.’ A relevant domestic violence offence includes any person charged with:

a) Choking, suffocation or strangulation in a domestic violence setting;

b) Deprivation of liberty;

c) Unlawful stalking;

d) Arson;

e) Domestic violence or associated domestic violence; and

f) A contravention of the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012, Section 177 (2).

New changes will also see that any person who is charged with a relevant domestic violence offence will be in a show cause position under section 16(3) of the Bail Act (Qld) 1980.

Under the new legislation, police or a court can impose bail conditions that require an offender who is charged with a relevant domestic violence offence to be subject to a special condition whereby they are to wear a tracking device whilst released on bail.

Under the legislation, complainants and victims of domestic violence will receive notifications of an offender’s application for bail, their release on bail, or any change in their bail conditions. A similar notification system will be put in place for any offenders who are released on parole, even where the offence they have been convicted of is not a domestic violence offence.

The legislation also includes a new provision which will allow for urgent reviews of bail decisions in a higher court. Therefore, a bail order will be stayed for three (3) days, whilst a prosecutor applies to review a courts decision in granting a defendant bail. The offender can be held in custody for three (3) days whilst the decision is urgently reviewed by a higher court.


Written by: Eloise Strofield

This article is of a general nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. If you require further information, advice or assistance for your specific circumstances, please contact the Fisher Dore team.

 

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