Use of bail in domestic abuse cases

Part of Domestic Abuse Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:15 pm on 17th June 2020.

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“(1) Section 34 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (limitations on police detention) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (5)(a) for the word “applies” substitute “or subsection (5AB) applies”.

(3) In subsection (5)(b) for the word “applies” substitute “or subsection (5AB) applies”.

(4) In subsection (5A) insert after the words “applies if”, “subsection (5AB) does not apply and”.

(5) After subsection (5A) insert—

“(a) This subsection applies if—

(i) it appears to the custody officer that there is need for further investigation of any matter in connection with which the person was detained at any time during the period of the person‘s detention; and

(ii) the offence under investigation is an offence that amounts to domestic abuse as defined in section 1 of the Domestic Abuse Act 2020;

(b) save that the person shall be released without bail if the custody officer is satisfied that releasing the person on bail is not necessary and proportionate in all the circumstances (having regard, in particular, to any conditions of bail which would be imposed and to the importance of protecting the complainant);

(c) before making a determination to release without bail or a determination as to any conditions of bail to impose, the custody officer shall conduct an assessment of the risks posed by not releasing the person on bail (including, in particular, to the complainant);

(d) before making a determination of a kind referred to in paragraph (c) the custody officer must inform—

(i) the person or the person’s legal representative and consider any representations made by the person or the person‘s legal representative; and

(ii) the complainant or the complainant’s representative and consider any representations made by the complainant or the complainant’s representative; and

(e) an officer of the rank of inspector or above must authorise the release on bail (having considered any representations made by the person or the person’s legal representative and by the complainant or the complainant’s representative).””

This new clause reverses the presumption against use of bail in the 2017 Act for these categories of offences, and introduces a risk assessment with prior consultation with the parties.