11 May 2012

Bail legislation passes first reading

8:25 am on 11 May 2012

Legislation tightening up bail laws has passed its first hurdle in Parliament.

The Bail Amendment Bill would impose a reverse burden of proof on defendents charged with murder and serious Class A drug offences.

This would require defendants to demonstrate that they should be released on bail, rather than the prosecution showing the defendant should not be released as is the case at present.

The legislation would also give police new powers to deal with defendants under the age of 17 who breach bail conditions, including the ability to arrest them without a warrant.

The Green Party is labelling the proposed changes a further erosion of human rights.

Co-leader Metiria Turei says the bill is a political statement rather than a principled one.

The bill passed its first reading by 105 votes to 15 with the Green and Mana parties voting against it.