Simon Corbell with his Attorney-General’s hat on has announced he’s having a fiddle with the much maligned bail system in Canberra.
“Under the proposed reforms defendants will be allowed to make two bail applications in the Magistrates Court and both defendants and informants will need to fully explore bail in the Magistrates Court before going to the Supreme Court,” Mr Corbell said.
This change stems from concerns about the increasing number of bail applications being heard in the Supreme Court. In 2008 there was an 82% increase in the number of bail applications being heard in the Supreme Court following the refusal of bail in the Magistrates Court.
“These bail matters are tying up resources in the Supreme Court that could be better spent on other more complex matters. Many of these bail applications should be heard by the Magistrates Court,” Mr Corbell said.
These reforms would also require the defendant to apply for a review of the bail decision in the Magistrates Court before applying to the Supreme Court hearing.
Sadly given the tender hearted nature of the Supreme Court one fears this just means more money spent in the magistrates court before the matter eventually makes its way to the kinder, gentler, supremes.
But wait, there’s more.
“Under the Government’s reform agenda the Magistrates Court will now be able to hear criminal offences with a maximum penalty of five years – up from the existing 2 year maximum sentence. This means at least another 60 offences will be heard exclusively in the Magistrates Court,” Mr Corbell said.
“Civil matters in the Magistrates Court would be increased from $50,000 to include civil matters up to and including $250,000 under the proposal.”
Mr Corbell and Acting Chief Justice, Malcolm Grey have also jointly requested a review be conducted into the case management practices in the ACT Supreme Court.