Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Questions (151)

Bernard Durkan


151. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons male and female, respectively, on bail in respect one or more offences and repeat offences; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48167/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I have made enquiries with the Courts Service in relation to the matter raised by the Deputy and I am advised that the information sought is not available in searchable format. Compiling the data requested would require manual examination of each court record, which would require a disproportionate use of resources.

More generally, I note that the decision to grant bail in any particular case is a matter for the presiding Judge, who is independent in the exercise of his or her judicial functions. There is also a Constitutional presumption in favour of the grant of bail as, under Irish Law, a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The Criminal Justice Act 2017 strengthens the operation of the bail system with the aim of making the law as effective as possible in protecting the public against crimes committed by persons on bail.

Under the Act, a Court, in considering an application for bail, is required to have regard to persistent serious offending by an applicant for bail and the nature and seriousness of any danger presented by the grant of bail to a person charged with an offence that carries a penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment or more. The Act also provides for the Court to have the power, in certain circumstances, to hear evidence from the victim of an alleged offence before a decision on bail is taken.

Where an accused person is granted bail, the Act provides for stricter bail terms for repeat serious offenders, strengthens Garda powers to deal with breaches of bail, increases the use of curfews, and, where requested by Gardaí, allows for the introduction of electronic tagging for those on bail in certain circumstances.