NSW has passed new bail legislation in response to three recent reviews of bail and sentencing.
The Bail Amendment Act 2015 was assented on November 5 after being passed through Parliament without amendment.
Attorney-General Gabrielle Upton said the changes were designed to “better protect the community”:
“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.
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.”
The amendment introduces three new factors that must be considered by the bail authority for the purposes of the unacceptable risk test.
Terrorism related factors include associations with terrorist organisations, whether the accused has made statements of support for terrorist acts or violent extremism and whether the accused has any associations or links with people or groups advocating these acts.
It also requires bail authorities to refuse bail when a person is charged with being a member of a terrorist organisation under section 310J of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).
Bail authorities should also refuse bail if the accused has previously been convicted of a Commonwealth or NSW terrorism offence, or if proceedings on a terrorism offence are currently ongoing, or if the accused is subject to a control order under Commonwealth legislation.
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