Govt proposes changes to bail system

02:54, Mar 15 2011

The Government is calling for public input into proposed changes to the bail system.

Justice Minister Simon Power today called for public submissions on Bail in New Zealand: Reviewing Aspects of the Bail System, which suggests several changes to the current bail system.

The review focuses on bail in the period between when a person is charged with an offence and when their trial ends.

"It's a difficult area because it involves balancing the safety of the public and the integrity of court proceedings against a person's right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty," Mr Power said.

Among the proposals, the document looks at widening the offences for which a reverse of the burden of proof applies for bail to include drug offences and murder.

It also includes proposals about continuing to allow electronic bail for some offences, removing the preference to bail defendants aged 17 to 19 who have previously served a prison sentence, and legislating so bail can not be granted in return for information.


The document also suggests introducing an imprisonment punishment for failing to answer police bail. Currently a fine is the only punishment.

Mr Power said he was looking forward to hearing what people had to say about the proposals.

"The Government will use public feedback to help us develop bail policy that ensures the appropriate balance is struck in bail decisions."

Submissions close on May 15.