Bail form had errors: Bourke St inquest

Melissa Iaria
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BOURKE STREET INQUEST

Senior Constable Jake Semmel says he incorrectly filled out a bail form for James Gargaloulas

Melbourne's Bourke Street murderer was wrongly marked as no danger to public safety on police paperwork given to the bail justice who freed him six days before his attack.

The paper blunder was revealed on day five of an inquest into the circumstances leading to the tragedy, which killed six people and injured dozens more on January 20, 2017.

The inquest heard a police remand application for James Gargasoulas, given to bail justice Christos Pantelios during a hearing six days earlier, featured some boxes ticked 'no', instead of 'yes'.

The wrongly-ticked boxes indicated the offender was not a risk of reoffending or of endangering public safety.

"I should've ticked the boxes as yes," said Senior Constable Jake Semmel, who was fighting the police case before the bail justice to keep Gargasoulas locked up.

"However I did convey these concerns of mine orally.

"I'd suggest it was an oversight."

Sen Const Semmel said he didn't tell the bail justice the application had errors, but verbally gave him correct information at the hearing.

This included telling him Gargasoulas posed an unacceptable risk if freed, given his prior convictions, outstanding warrants, serious charges arising from three investigations, repeated bail breaches and the likelihood he'd reoffend.

The officer said he was shocked when bail was granted, given the offender's number and complexity of charges.

But he said he didn't take steps to escalate the matter and seek an internal review.

At the time, Gargasoulas' charges included conduct endangering life and serious injury, dangerous and careless driving, car theft and assault.

New charges were also being drawn up as the hearing was under way, which the bail justice was also advised on, Sen Const Semmel said.

What police and the bail justice recall about what occurred at the bail hearing is under dispute.

Mr Pantelios is due to give evidence next week.

Sen Const Semmel rejected under cross examination from Mr Pantelios' lawyer, Ian Hill QC, that he was ill-prepared for the hearing due to time constraints and lack of training in prosecuting.

The officer said he didn't know whether the bail justice looked at Gargasoulas' charges or prior convictions.

"I do not recall the bail justice asking any questions about Gargasoulas' prior history even though I highlighted 13 counts of fail to answer bail," he said.

"He also didn't ask if there was any relevant history to charges facing him to date."

Coroner Jacqui Hawkins will not rule on the appropriateness of the decision to release the offender, as it was not subject to any appeal.