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Bail legislation gives gardaí new powers of arrest: RTE NEWS


Gardaí are to get new powers to arrest suspects who breach bail conditions under the terms of a new bill to be published today.

The proposed bail legislation places new requirements on courts when considering bail applications and means judges must give reasons for releasing suspected offenders on bail.

It also allows for greater restrictions to be placed on convicted offenders who are granted bail while they appeal.

Over 10,500 serious offences were committed last year by people on bail, including six homicides, nine sexual offences and over 3,000 burglaries and robberies.

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald is now introducing new bail laws and will publish a new bill today.

It will give gardaí the power of arrest, without warrant, for a breach of bail conditions to prevent harm and intimidation of witnesses and victims.

The courts before granting bail must also have regard to persistent serious offending, the nature and seriousness of any danger presented and should in certain cases hear evidence from the victim first in relation to threats and intimidation.

The courts must also give reasons for bail decisions and the District Court will in future be able to refuse bail in a case where an offender is to be sent to prison but is freed because of an appeal.

The bill also updates and extends the law on electronic tagging and enables a court to prohibit from driving a person charged with a serious road traffic offence.

The details of the bill are due to be announced at the graduation of 100 new gardaí later today at Templemore which will be attended by the minister, the Taoiseach and the Garda Commissioner.