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​Stronger bail laws to protect against terror risk

Issued: Tuesday, 20 October 2015

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The NSW Government will introduce new laws into NSW Parliament today that will make it harder for people with links to terrorism to get bail, Attorney General Gabrielle Upton announced.

The legislation, which was foreshadowed in August, implements the amendments recommended by the Joint Commonwealth-NSW Martin Place Siege Review, the final report of the Hatzistergos Review and NSW Sentencing Council.

Ms Upton said the NSW Government is further strengthening our bail laws to better protect the community, particularly against the risk of terrorism.

“We’ve witnessed the brutal and senseless destruction terrorism has caused, and we will do what it takes to protect the community against any identified risks,” Ms Upton said.

“The changes will make it extremely difficult for people to get bail if they are already facing or have been convicted of a terrorism offence, or are subject to a terrorism control order. These people will be bail refused if they are charged with any offence carrying a custodial sentence unless there are exceptional circumstances.”

In addition, the following factors will be taken into account as part of the existing ‘unacceptable risk’ test for bail:

  • an accused person’s associations with terrorist organisations
  • an accused person’s statements or actions advocating support for terrorist acts or violent extremism
  • an accused person’s associations or affiliation with people or groups who advocate support for terrorist acts or violent extremism.

The final report of the Hatzistergos Review showed the Bail Act had been working well since significant amendments, including a new ‘show cause’ test, took effect in January 2015. The ‘show cause’ test puts the onus on people charged with the most serious offences to justify why they should be given bail.

Ms Upton said “Importantly, the Bail Act Monitoring Group, the NSW Sentencing Council and the NSW Government, will continue to keep a close eye on the bail laws to ensure they are working appropriately.”