Bail justices in Victoria: Perceptions and experiences

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On 20 January 2017 a man drove his car into a crowded pedestrian mall in Bourke St, Melbourne, Victoria, killing six people and injuring dozens more. The alleged perpetrator had been granted bail by a bail justice only hours earlier. In the wake of this violent event the state government announced a review of the bail justice role. Historically, bail justices have been criticised for being reluctant to grant bail, yet there is relatively little written or researched on bail justices from their perspective. This article is derived from empirical research conducted on the bail support system in Victoria from 2010–14, which included interviews with bail justices. The research provided bail justices with an opportunity to discuss their experiences and respond to criticisms of their role and raised issues in relation to diversity, training, decision-making, integrity and specific procedural issues. It concludes that continuing with the role has benefit to Victorians, particularly vulnerable defendants by offering a therapeutic, pastoral care approach, although issues raised in this article need addressing to maintain the integrity of the role.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-136
Number of pages14
JournalCurrent Issues in Criminal Justice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017


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