Criticisms of a Cairns Magistrate’s bail decision yesterday as a ‘cop bashing bail outrage’ is sensationalist and ignores the ‘balancing’ provisions of the Queensland Bail Act.

Civil Liberties Vice-President Terry O’Gorman said that three men accused of bashing a police officer after attending a wake were entitled to bail, and criticisms of the Magistrate’s bail decisions are misinformed.As Chief Magistrate Ray Rinaudo said in a media interview earlier this week, bail decisions are a balancing exercise requiring considerations of the seriousness of the offence on the one hand and the likelihood of a person turning up for Court on the other.“Bail decisions are made soon after an arrest and months, sometimes years, before a Court, after weighing the prosecution and defence evidence, comes to a verdict”, Mr O’Gorman said.

Mr O’Gorman said that it has been recognised for decades that the grant of bail is an important process in a free society which rejects any right of the Government or the Police to imprison a citizen upon mere allegations before a trial.

“While the allegations against the three men are serious, they are just that at this early stage in the Court process, untried untested and unproven allegations”, Mr O’Gorman said.

“If the three men are found guilty they are likely to be jailed as Appeal Court cases dictate that serious assaults on Police Officers should attract a jail term”, Mr O’Gorman said.

Mr O’Gorman accused critics of this and other Queensland Court bail decisions of effectively demanding that people accused of certain criminal offences be jailed long before their trial, and not caring if a person is found not guilty after spending months or years in jail awaiting their trial date.

“The Bail Act clearly provides that the Police or a Prosecutor can appeal to a Supreme Court Judge against the Magistrate’s decision granting bail”, Mr O’Gorman said.