Bail – Please Can Someone Explain?

September 15th, 2016 | Posted by Lynn Strother in Judicial System | Prison

I caught the back end of Crime Watch on BBC1 the other night, namely the bit that shows a gallery of faces of people they want to contact. I was absolutely horrified.  There were men wanted for murder, rape, and serious assault – dangerous “do not approach” people.

Why was the call put out? Because these people had been charged with their crimes, had been given bail, yet had not turned up for their court hearings and were now on the run.  I ask you – BAIL for those charged with murder, rape, serious assault, and considered too dangerous to approach? What sort of judicial system do we have in this country?!

Does it really make sense to put these people back into the community on bail when they are too dangerous to approach? If you had been raped or had a family member who had been murdered, how would you feel about the fact that the suspect was back in the community and that you might even bump into that person?

Even if they have been tagged, there are plenty of examples where being tagged has not stopped violent crime.

It’s no wonder that these people have skipped bail – if they have committed those sorts of crimes, they know that they face a long time into prison if convicted, so why stay around?  Would you?

Does it really make sense? Especially when you hear about people being sent to prison because they are too poor to pay for their TV Licence or Council Tax?  Are these people more ‘dangerous’ than the suspected murderer, rapist etc.?

It is time to review the bail system by discussing who is given bail.  Is an assessment undertaken to look at the risk to the community? The risk of the accused not attending future court hearings?  How long are these people ‘on bail’?  How are they monitored? What is the risk of witness intimidation?  Should there be special consideration for non-British citizens as they are most likely to go back to their own country rather than face the possibility of prison here?

Oh, and please do not start talking about the suspects’ human rights.  Yes – most people are covered by human rights in this country, but what about the human rights of the victims, their families, and their friends? To me, their human rights should take precedent over a suspect’s human rights however hard that may seem.

It must be so frustrating for the police: putting in all their hard work collecting the evidence for a case only for the suspect to be given bail and then disappear. There must have been so many occasions when there was serious concern that the suspect might commit another atrocity. And what about the impact on the families?

So – how do you feel about having these ‘dangerous’ suspects walking about your community?  Do you feel safe?  Do you think that people who are charged with serious offences should be held in secure accommodation after their first court appearance?

As usual – let us know your views

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