Police chief calls for consistency in granting bail to suspects of serious crimes
Greater consistency is needed by the courts when granting crime suspects bail, the Chief Constable has said.
“It concerns me when we have people who are multiple offenders being released on bail, particularly when they commit more serious offences. There has to be a consistent approach to this,” Matt Baggott said.
He also stressed the importance of ensuring bail decisions “reflect the risk posed by the offender”.
“It is a decision for the courts, but every time something happens when someone is on bail, perhaps there has been an inconsistency in the decision being made by the judge or the rules aren’t tight enough. That needs reviewed.
“It isn’t a judgement on the judges, but there has to be a consistent approach to this.
“Ultimately both our job and the court’s job is to protect the public,” said the Chief Constable.
Concerns over bail policies were reignited recently when it emerged that a man charged with an armed robbery — during which a teenage boy received life-threatening injuries — had 69 previous convictions.
It was also revealed that he was already on bail for two other offences when he allegedly carried out the attack. Scrap metal dealer Michael Mongan (21) faces seven charges in relation to the violent burglary in which Philip Convery sustained a fractured skull.
The teenager's grandmother and an uncle were also hurt when an armed gang forced their way into their Co Londonderry house on June 5.
A bail application by Mongan, of White Rise, Dunmurry, in Belfast, was refused after police revealed he had a lengthy criminal record.
The court was told that Mongan had already been on bail for receiving stolen goods and driving while disqualified.
A police officer said he was also being prosecuted for six burglaries in the Magherafelt area where firearms were stolen.