This week the Legal Affairs Committee of the Queensland Parliament approved changes to the Queensland Bail Act that encourage police to exercise their discretion with regard to bail where a person cannot be taken promptly before a Court.

It is important for practitioners to be aware of this law change as particularly on weekends and especially on long weekends, too often watchhouse keepers refuse to allow an arrested person watchhouse bail only for the Police Prosecutor not to oppose bail in Court on the next Court working day.

It should be remembered that watchhouse keepers when deciding a question of bail are performing a quasi-judicial function and therefore ought to be asked for reasons if watchhouse bail is intended to be denied.

Lawyers should also realise that they have a right to make submissions to the watchhouse keeper addressing the same sort of matters in respect of watchhouse bail as would be addressed in an ordinary Court bail hearing.

By Terry O’Gorman

23 February 2017