Vic law institute says keep bail justices


Victoria's bail system needs more funding, better support services and should be simplified, the Law Institute of Victoria says.

In its submission to Victoria's bail system review following the Bourke Street tragedy, the institute says better training should be provided for bail justices to ensure "unsafe people" aren't released back into the community.

The institute recommends bail justices be retained, saying they help take pressure off police and the overloaded court system.

"Any decision regarding bail has to balance the need for community safety with the rights of the accused and a presumption of innocence," institute president Belinda Wilson said in a statement.

"We understand that people who are presumed to be a risk to the community should be held in custody, but we acknowledge that prisons are being clogged up with too many vulnerable people on remand for offences that pose no risk to public safety."

The institute recommends bail justices be trained to a standard of Certificate IV Diploma in Bail.

It says if the new night bail courts are to continue, extra safeguards should be put in place so people on remand must reappear before a regular court the next day.

The Victorian government has promised to change bail laws after six people died on January 20 when 27-year-old Dimitrious Gargasoulas allegedly drove into pedestrians in Bourke Street.

He had been granted bail by a volunteer bail justice.

Since the tragedy, serious matters are no longer heard before bail justices and a new night court with on-call magistrates has begun sitting on Saturday nights.