As the Deputy will be aware, recent changes to the bail laws, including the Criminal Justice Act 2017, have made the bail system far stronger and have made the law as effective as possible in protecting the public against crimes committed by persons on bail. The court has the power to refuse bail where there are reasonable grounds to believe the person is likely to commit a serious offence. In assessing this likelihood, the court must take into account the nature and seriousness of the offence, the accused person’s previous offending and may also take into account the danger he or she poses to the public if bail is granted. The Criminal Justice Act 2017 also strengthened Garda powers to deal with breaches of bail providing a power of arrest without warrant, and made provisions to increase the use of curfews and to facilitate the introduction of electronic tagging for those on bail in certain circumstances.
In terms of available statistics, the Deputy will appreciate that given the new bail laws were only introduced in 2017, the full impact of these provisions will not yet be reflected in the official recorded crime statistics. However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have requested that the Central Statistics Office (CSO), as the national statistics body, provide the Deputy with the most readily available figures in relation to crimes committed by persons when on bail.