New bill to make it harder for repeat offenders to get bail

It could see victim evidence being heard at bail proceedings

New bill to make it harder for repeat offenders to get bail

A courtroom at the Courts of Criminal Justice in Dublin | Image:

The Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan says the Criminal Justice Bill 2016 has passed through the Oireachtas.

The bill places a greater emphasis on the rights and the safety of victims, and the public, in bail decisions.

The Government says it provides "increased guidance for the courts" and greater transparency in the bail process.

Under the bill, the courts will be required to take additional factors into account when considering bail to serious offenders.

This includes if the nature and frequency of previous offending indicates a danger to individuals or the community.

The courts will also have more options available in imposing conditions on those who are granted bail.

This includes prohibiting an accused from driving when charged with a serious road traffic offence, and imposing a night-time curfew.

It could also see electronic monitoring with bail conditions when requested by the prosecutor, as well as hearing victim evidence at bail proceedings.

Minister Flanagan said: "This Government has placed a strong emphasis on tackling serious and persistent offending.

"The passage of this bill marks another important step in preventing repeat offending and keeping our communities safe".