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Reform the Bail Act 1976

Comment 13th June 2018

I believe that the following changes should be made to the Bail Act 1976: no person should be remanded into custody for a non-imprisonable offence under any circumstances, there should be a 28 day time restriction imposed on any remand into custody for breach of bail conditions, no defendant should be remanded into custody for a period exceeding the half maximum custodial sentence for the offence or 24 months (whichever comes sooner) under any circumstances. I also believe that any days spent on remand in a psychiatric hospital or similar treatment facility should count towards time served and that any days spent on remand should be deducted from both the custodial and licence portions of any custodial sentence imposed should the court subsequently impose such a sentence.

Why does this matter?

The presumption of innocence is paramount in the British justice system and in my opinion the current system is designed to incentivse remand prisoners to plead guilty to offences which may not be proven to the criminal standard i.e. beyond a reasonable doubt.

I have personally served 69 days on remand in HMP Norwich on two charges of breaching a CBO: one charge which I was not guilty of and another charge which I was guilty of. I initially pleaded not guilty to both charges at Norwich Magistrates Court and was granted conditional bail. I subsequently breached a condition of bail prohibiting me from entering Norwich (as defined by the inner ring road) except to attend an appointment at the Jobcentre and was remanded into custody by Norwich Crown Court following an arrest for breach of bail. This remand had no end date meaning that I was indefinitely detained pending trial. I subsequently pleaded guilty in order be released as early as possible and avoid being held in a Category B part of HMP Norwich, which is the prison where I was detained.

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