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28 June 2023

On Wednesday 28th June I introduced a Bill amend the Bail Act 1992 to shift the presumption of bail to a neutral presumption for three crimes:
1. Culpable driving of a motor vehicle.
2. Driving a motor vehicle at police.
3. Furious, reckless or dangerous driving.

These amendments are about ensuring that those people who are committing the most dangerous offences on our roads, will not be presumed bail (as they are currently). By applying a neutral presumption to those crimes, the court can examine each bail application relating to these crimes on its merits.

Concerns about high-risk dangerous driving offending have been raised with me consistently over the past couple of years, and the ACT community is very aware of the impact of road trauma after last year's devastatingly high road death toll - the highest in 12 years.

I urge the ACT Government to adopt the recommendations from the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety's (JACS) Inquiry into Dangerous Driving. The Committee heard that out of 137 dangerous drivers apprehended as part of a special ACT Policing crackdown on dangerous driving - 8 were first-time offenders and more than half were subject to bail or other court conditions at the time of offending.

My Bill will shift the presumption of bail for these crimes to a neutral one. The above 3 crimes will now be treated with a similar lens to sexual assault, manslaughter and drug trafficking offences in the ACT.

These changes alone will not solve the systematic problems of dangerous driving in the ACT, though I hope they go some way in addressing a major fault in our justice system. I strongly urge the Government to follow on from this Bill and adopt all recommendations outlined in the JACS Committee's final report on the Inquiry into Dangerous Driving.