Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Grim Reminder

This is a tragic reminder of the responsibility that magistrates carry when they decide to grant or withhold bail. Every bail decision is a calculated risk because there are few certainties. Whether there are 'substantial grounds' to fear further offences, failure to surrender, or interference with witnesses is a judgment call, pure and simple.
The newspaper is unfair in its report, as you would expect: it suggests that the decision was taken by one named JP rather than a bench, "despite" CPS objections. If we always followed the CPS line, nobody would ever get bail and we would need another 50,000 prison places. As I have said before, all that we can do is consider the evidence with great care, stick to the Bail Act rules, and hope that we get it right.

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