Criminal Law : Reforms to Domestic Violence Laws
Over the past year the Queensland Parliament has made changes to the laws surrounding domestic violence to mitigate the increasing rise of domestic violence related offences in Queensland. To coincide with other recent domestic violence reforms, the Bail (Domestic Violence) and Another Act Amendment Bill 2017 was passed on the 22 March 2017.
In summary, the following amendments have been made:
A person charged with a domestic violence offence can have a special bail condition imposed by the court or a police officer authorised to grant bail. This special condition provides for the fitting of a tracking device (or GPS tracker) to the alleged offender upon their release into the community.
Presumption of bail reversed
The Bail Act 1980 (Qld) has been amended to reverse the presumption of bail for an alleged offender charged with a domestic violence offence and to further widen the circumstances in which a court or a authorised police officer can refuse bail, hence making it more difficult for an alleged offender to be granted bail.
New system to alert victims when alleged offenders are released
A new system has been implemented whereby the Prosecutor must notify the alleged victim of a domestic violence offence when the defendant intends to make a bail application/variation within 24 hours. Further to this, the alleged victim must be notified immediately if the defendant is released on bail.
A mandatory reporting provision was introduced to the parole system for when someone incarcerated applies for and receives parole that allows an alleged victim of domestic violence to receive information about the incarcerated person, even if the offence is not a domestic violence offence.
Urgent review of bail by higher court
A provision was introduced that allows the Prosecutor to urgently apply to the higher court for a review of the bail decision and the decision about release is stayed until the earliest of the following:
The reviewing court makes an order subject to additional or substitute evidence;
The review application is discontinued;
4pm on the day that is 3 business days after the day on which the decision about release was made.
It is vital to obtain legal advice in relation to all charges involving domestic violence. If you or someone you know requires advice in relation to domestic violence or criminal law matters please call our office to speak with a member of our criminal law team.