The Opposition has raised concerns about the effectiveness of recent changes to the Bail Amendment Act after a recent court decision to grant bail to a man accused of indecently dealing with an 11-year-old girl at a train station.
Shadow Justice Minister Tjorn Sibma said that the recent bail decision sadly vindicated the argument that the Opposition had made consistently last year that Attorney-General John Quigley’s change to the Bail Act would do little else but maintain the status quo.
“While noting the application of bail conditions on the accused, this outcome does not sit at all well with the community, and it is completely contrary to expectations set by the Attorney General, when he introduced the Bail Amendment Bill last year,” Shadow Justice Minister Tjorn Sibma said.
“Child victims were supposed to be put at the centre of bail decisionsi, but the changes to the Bail Act were mere window dressing.
Mr Quigley in parliament said the following –
I recognise the traumatic effect that the release on bail of alleged abusers can have on their victims and I believe it is critical that we emphasise the importance of, and seek to mitigate, this trauma whenever we can. This is especially the case when the alleged victim is a child. That is what the Bail Amendment Bill 2022 seeks to achieve.
“It doesn’t give the Opposition any satisfaction that the Attorney General’s ‘reform’ has been predictably exposed as a sham, for it is the community who suffers and who loses yet more confidence in the justice system,” Mr Sibma said.
“What this scenario also demonstrates is that no responsible person can simply take Mr Quigley at his word – if that is a lesson which still needs to be remembered after Justice Lee of the Federal Court last year labelled him as a ‘confused and confusing’ witness.”