Relevant parts of the Policing and Crime Act 2017 (‘the Act’) come into force on the 3rd April 2017 and will make substantial changes to the manner in which bail may be granted to suspects at police stations.
The Current Position
Currently, there are no time limits as to how often and how long the police may take a suspect into custody and re-bail that person.
If the police can justify the re-bail on the basis of the complex nature of the investigation or the continuance of outstanding enquiries, then a suspect is liable to continue to be re-bailed whilst the investigation or those enquiries are ongoing.
This frequently leads to suspects being on bail for months, if not years, in the most complex of cases, with undesired consequences for both suspects and victims of crime, including the uncertainty as to whether or not a prosecution will follow.
Additionally, the longer an investigation takes the more likely it is that witness evidence will be questioned as to reliability due to the length of time that has past since the initial allegation was made.
The Effects of the Act | Kangs Criminal Law Advisory Solicitors
- There will be an initial twenty eight day time limit for bail.
- At the end of that period, a senior officer will be able to extend bail for up to, initially, a further three months, and
- Thereafter, to a maximum of six months for complex cases.
- If the police wish to continue to retain a suspect on bail for any longer period they will have to make an application to a Magistrates’ Court thereby enabling further scrutiny of investigations and enquiries the police have conducted.
- The solicitor for the suspect will, in future, have an opportunity to respond to such applications for extensions of pre-charge bail.
Under the Criminal Procedure Rules there will now be strict guidelines as to when these applications can be made and also in relation to applications to oppose the extension of pre-charge bail.
Furthermore requests can be made that the adjudication is made on the papers, or indeed a request can be made for a hearing with all parties to attend.
What This Means | Kangs Specialist Criminal Solicitors
The new provision will mean that there is now a presumption of release without bail unless the custody officer considers bail ‘necessary and proportionate’. These provisions will be different for serious fraud office investigations where an initial period of 3 months bail can be granted without review, or up to a 6 month period in exceptionally complex cases.
How Can Kangs Solicitors Help You? | Kangs Criminal Defence Team
As from 3rd April 2017 anybody who has been on bail for any substantial period of time may consider that this new legislation may be beneficial to them.
In these circumstances, please feel free to contact Kangs Solicitors in order that the possibility of the appropriate representations being made can be considered on your behalf.
Who can I Contact for Help? | Kangs Specialist Criminal Solicitors
Please feel free to contact our criminal team through any of the following who will be happy to speak to you and guide you.