Judge concerned about bail reports

Law books02A judge has expressed concern about the lack of detail in the latest reports by the Probation Service on people’s suitability for release on electronically monitored bail.

Christchurch District Court Paul Kellar made his comment during a hearing yesterday on whether a 27-year-old man could be released on bail with an electronic ankle-bracelet as he awaits trial on sex charges, some of them involving children.

Defence counsel James Rapley said the man had already been held in custody on remand for three weeks, but faced another year in custody before a trial would be held. The man denies the charges.

Mr Rapley told the court that the electronic bail assessment on the man only covered matters in a very general way, and he described the report as “unimpressive”.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Jeff Kay said the reports were no longer being prepared by the police. He said the job had now been given to the Probation Service and they were prepared by a panel of people in Wellington.

Judge Kellar said: “These reports are not nearly as thorough as they used to be.”

He delayed the bail hearing for the man – who was appearing by video-link from the prison – until late today so that he could consider further information.

“I haven’t been helped by the bail report,” he told the court.

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