In the wake of well publicised crimes committed by persons on bail, the Victorian Government changed the bail laws to make it more difficult to be released. The consequences have been telling in that our remand centres have unprecedented numbers of persons awaiting resolution of their matters.
When the police oppose bail, the person charged has to establish either “compelling reasons” or “exceptional circumstances” that they should not be incarcerated. The difference between these two depends on the charges. However exceptional circumstances applies if you commit more serious offences, such as murder, and is a higher bar to meet.
At the same time, showing compelling reasons was made more onerous to the previous test which was “show cause”. Compelling reasons at law means that our client has to show:
We had a client who was charged with intentionally causing injury by ramming his car into another car. The police initially said that he needed to show compelling reasons. However the prosecutors decided that he needed to show exceptional circumstances. They contended that the car was deemed an “offensive weapon”.
In our view this was absurd. In front of Magistrate Kumar, we argued that an offensive weapon required an ordinary object to somehow be modified. An example is such a glass bottle having been smashed and the jagged ends used to cause injury to another person. The magistrate agreed.
His Honour released our client on bail by showing he had established compelling reasons due to the following: