Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Questions (262)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh


262. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to introduce legislation on bail reform; if so, the organisations he has or will consult with in advance of proposed changes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49791/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy is aware, the Criminal Justice Act 2017 made a number of changes to the bail laws. Under the Act, 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 new law also strengthened Garda powers to deal with breaches of bail providing a power of arrest without warrant in certain circumstances, and made provisions to increase the use of curfews and to facilitate the introduction of electronic tagging for those on bail in certain circumstances.

While I am open to revisiting the law if the changes introduced in 2017 are shown to be insufficient, I think the Deputy will agree that it would be premature to do so at present. It is important to await the evidence of the impact of this legislation and take the time to evaluate the effect of these new provisions before further changes in the law can be considered.