Media Release 28 August 2013
Family First NZ is welcoming legislation changing bail laws, and says that the new requirements are a long overdue change in order to protect families from repeat and high risk offenders.
“Public safety should be the court’s primary consideration, so we welcome the provisions of the bill reversing the burden of proof for those charged with the worst offences and with the highest risk of reoffending while on bail,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“We also support the extension to the list of offences that qualify a defendant to be subject to a reverse burden of proof when they have a similar previous conviction.”
“There are a number of reasons why we see an urgent need for change. Natasha Hayden was slain by Tauranga man Michael Curran at McLaren Falls in 2005 while he was awaiting trial for the murder of 2-year-old Tauranga toddler Aaliyah Morrissey. 17-year-old Augustine Borrell was stabbed to death at a party in the Auckland suburb of Herne Bay in 2007 by Haiden Davis who was on bail for another violent crime. Vanessa Pickering was murdered by Malcolm Chaston while he was on bail. The man accused of Auckland teenager Christie Marceau was on bail at the time of the alleged murder. Last year Ramnitesh Avinash had been in court for threatening to kill his partner, Inayat Kawthar, and assault with a weapon. Police opposed bail, but the community magistrate let him go. Ten days later, his 24-year-old partner was dead, fatally stabbed by her boyfriend in South Auckland before he died by a railway track in the area.”
“Ministry of Justice figures released last year highlight that these cases above are just the tip of the iceberg, and the number of serious crimes committed while on bail shows the urgent need for improve public safety, and to ensure that those accused of serious offences will find it more difficult to get bail.,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“Bail is a privilege, not a right – and the rights of the public to protection from repeat and high risk offenders should take precedence.”