Innocent until proven guilty: really?

R Sarre1, K Gelb2, L Bartels3, C Spiranovic4, S Dodd5
1University Of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia, 2University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia, 3University of Canberra, Canberra, Australia, 4University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia, 5University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

Dr Karen Gelb is a Consultant Criminologist and a Lecturer at the University of Melbourne, Department of Criminology. Her areas of expertise include courts, family violence, sentencing, public opinion, sex offenders and, most recently, bail and remand. Karen spent eight years with the Victorian Sentencing Advisory Council, is the editor of a book on sentencing councils and sentencing policy, and is the author of almost 40 major research reports, consultancy reports and articles.

In January 2017, six people were killed and at least 30 injured when Dimitrious Gargasoulas drove his car into pedestrians on Melbourne’s Bourke Street mall in an apparently deliberate attack. In the aftermath of the incident, community shock turned to outrage when it was revealed that Gargasoulas had been released by a Victorian Bail Justice just days before, after being arrested for offences including family violence and stealing a car. Within days, the Victorian Government announced changes to the state’s bail system, as well as a major review of Victoria’s bail laws, to be undertaken by the former Director of Public Prosecutions, Justice Paul Coghlan, currently a judge in the Victorian Court of Appeal. Following the Coghlan review, Victoria’s bail laws are arguably the most onerous in Australia. This paper presents a discussion of recent reforms to bail laws around Australia. It argues that amendments to bail law legislation across the country reflect shifting views on the purposes of bail and the principles underlying the bail system.

Dr Rick Sarre is Adjunct Professor of Law and Criminal Justice in the School of Law, University of South Australia. He is the immediate past President of ANZSOC, a position he held for four years, and was the Chair of Academic Board of the University of South Australia for six years.


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