Bail Laws

Bail Amendment Bill

We support Christie’s Law (launched by the Sensible Sentencing Trust) – for five good reasons

Bay of Plenty Times 28 Feb 2012
1/2. Brian and Lynette Brown’s 24-year-old daughter Natasha Hayden was slain by Tauranga man Michael Curran at McLaren Falls on January 10, 2005. Curran was granted bail by a High Court judge on July 7, 2005 after four unsuccessful bail applications and while awaiting trial he murdered 2-year-old Tauranga toddler Aaliyah Morrissey on September 13, 2005.
Auckland Now 28 Feb 2012
3. 17-year-old Augustine Borrell was stabbed to death at a party in the Auckland suburb of Herne Bay in September 2007. Murderer Haiden Davis was on bail for another violent crime when he killed Augustine…
4. Vanessa Pickering, who was murdered by Malcolm Chaston while he was on bail. Pickering’s body was found on a hill near Godley Head in Christchurch in February 2010. Chaston, a 41-year-old with a violent criminal history, was jailed indefinitely for her murder.
5. Christie’s Law was sparked by the fatal stabbing of Auckland teenager Christie Marceau. The man accused of  Marceau’s murder was on bail at the time of the alleged murder.

From “Christie’s Law” website…..

The Bail Amendment Bill was developed last year from a Government review of Bail laws, and proposes some improvements such as reversing the burden of proof for a wider range of offences. A reverse burden of proof means that the person charged with an offence has to prove that they do not pose serious risk of reoffending to be released on bail. A number of other minor changes are also proposed.

We welcome these changes, but strongly believe they do not go far enough in protecting the public from those charged with serious violent offences, particularly where they have a record of serious violent offending, or offending while on bail.

Specifically, the Christie’s Law campaign seeks the following “Christie’s Law” amendments:

  1. No bail for any person who is charged with a serious violent “three strike” offence, who has previously committed a serious violent “three strike” offence while on bail.
  2. Judges should be required to pay particular regard to submissions made by victims, and any personal threats made against victims in deciding whether bail should be granted.
  3. Fix the loophole that allows persons committing serious violent “ three strike” offences while on bail for other serious violent “ three strike” offences, to avoid the “three strikes” sentencing regime.
  4. Removal of the strong presumption in favour of bail for persons under 20 where previously convicted of an offence punishable by imprisonment.
  5. Conduct an annual review into serious breaches of bail and serious crime committed while on bail, that is reported to the Minister of Justice and available to the public.
  6. Police should have powers to appeal bail decisions equal to those the defence has.
  7. Implement a “risk assessment tool” to assist Judges to make well-informed bail decisions.
  8. Implement practical methods of increasing judicial accountability for bail decisions, such as internal benchmarking of Judges’ performance and assistance for poorly performing Judges.
  9. Serious breaches of bail to be addressed by a presumption of imprisonment, rather than fines, which are ineffective, inconsistently applied and rarely paid.
  10. Offences committed while on bail should be sentenced cumulatively, rather than concurrently as they generally are at present.

For more information please go to: where we expand on the rationale for these positions.

READ more about the Bill
READ Family First’s Submission

Please make a submission. We support the review of Bail Laws and the direction of this Bill

* Send two written copies to
Law & Order Select Committee,
Parliament Buildings,
* go online to make a submission directly (see bottom of page)

Please note that submissions close on Friday 29 June 2012.

Bill to toughen up bail crosses the first hurdle
NZ Herald 11 May 2012 
People charged with serious crimes would have to prove they can be trusted out at large. A bill which makes it more difficult for serious violent, sexual or Class A drug offenders to get bail has been backed in Parliament at its first reading. If the amendments become law, people charged with serious crimes would have to prove to the Crown they would not be a threat to public safety if allowed out of custody. This change reverses the burden of proof for bail cases involving serious offences. At present, it is usually the prosecutor’s responsibility to prove a defendant should not get bail. The bill was passed yesterday by a vote of 105 in favour to 15 against. National, United Future, Act, the Maori Party and Labour supported the bill and Greens and Mana opposed it. The first reading followed the launch of a community movement called “Christie’s Law” which aimed to tighten bail laws. It was created by the Sensible Sentencing Trust and the parents of Christie Marceau, who was allegedly killed by 19-year-old Akshay Chand.