‘Poccum’s Law’ bail reform urgently needed to help prevent further tragedy

22nd Mar 2023

The ‘Poccum’s Law’ bail reforms proposed today for Victoria are urgently needed and will work to keep people from unnecessary and inappropriate imprisonment.

“Courts must have, as was the case for many years in Victoria, the broadest discretion to consider bail, and not be restricted with complex rules and tests,” said Mr Greg Barns SC, spokesperson for the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

"We support the call for the Victorian Government to implement Poccum’s Law, so that bail hearings are fair, and remand is only used as a last resort.

“The presumption must be in favour of bail for all offences with the courts given full discretion to determine the risks to public safety or reoffending in determining if that presumption is displaced.

“The current Victorian bail Act is very complex and runs to a staggering 119 pages. In contrast Tasmania’s bail law is only 24 pages. The Victorian laws must be simplified and must not include new complicated rules and tests that restrict the discretion of the court.

“Back in 2017 the ALA warned that the proposed changes to bail laws would be harmful and unfortunately that has proven to be the case. This harm has disproportionately impacted First Nations people and the results are tragic.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are overrepresented on remand and we know that they experience unique disadvantages in their contact with the criminal justice system.”

The ALA is one of 56 organisations that has given its support to the proposed Poccum's Law.

Tags: Victoria Criminal justice Greg Barns