Judge repeats criticism of address check system

April 24, 2014 | By More

Court House-general 3New arrangements for checks on addresses for electronically monitored bail applications have again come under fire from a Christchurch judge who has now decided to release a man charged over an alleged stabbing.

Judge Paul Kellar was left making his decision to grant bail to 23-year-old John David Evans without any assessment or report on a Hamilton address where Evans will live while on bail.

Evans has now been in custody for two months after his arrest on a charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm after a man was found bleeding after apparently being cornered in a driveway in Spreydon by four men.

The alleged victim had been stabbed in the neck and was bleeding from a 6cm gash, but neighbours managed to stem the blood-flow until emergency services arrived, on the night of February 19. The man, Daniel Joseph Patrick Leahy, had surgery at Christchurch Hospital.

Evans was refused bail after his arrest, with the judge citing the seriousness of the charge, but he made a further application last month for release on electronically monitored bail, where he would be monitored at a specified address with the fitting of an electronic anklet.

The first address was found to be unsuitable, but a second address was then suggested. A separate application was then made but Judge Kellar was told the application may not have been sent on to the Probation Service from the court.

Judge Kellar was critical of the new requirement to make a fresh application to the Probation Service each time a new address was suggested.

Last week, he was critical of the new system by which the Probation Service is making checks on suggested addresses. The electronic bail proposals are being considered by a panel in Wellington which is providing reports to the courts on the addresses’ suitability.

A lawyer complained last week about the very general nature of the reports now being received and Judge Kellar said he found them “not nearly as thorough as they used to be” when the police produced the reports.

He said yesterday: “I am getting pretty impatient with the electronically monitored bail reporting now that it is out of the hands of the police who had done an excellent job of it before. I reiterate the extreme concern I expressed the other day about the way in which these applications are being dealt with.”

Evans’ application was put forward by defence counsel Peter Doody who said the police had made their own check on April 3, but the occupant of the address now confirmed she had had no further contact with anyone. He urged that Evans be released on bail on strict conditions.

Prosecutor Marcus Zintl said the Crown would accept Evans’ release under strict conditions, but he said there were concerns about occupants at the Hamilton property: a woman there had convictions for violent offending, and her boyfriend had convictions for escaping, and using and carrying knives.

Judge Kellar agreed to the electronic bail proposal, imposing a 24-hour-a-day curfew on Evans and requiring him to come to the door whenever the police make a check. He will have to live at the specified address and have no contact the alleged victim or Crown witnesses.

Evans, who was appearing in court by video-link from the prison, was remanded to a case review hearing on May 26. He has pleaded not guilty to the charge, and the case is heading for a jury trial.

Category: News

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