Police Bail Legislation To Be Passed By Commons

Government To Hurry Emergency Police Bail Law Through Commons

Emergency legislation to reverse a controversial legal ruling on police bail will go through all stages in the Commons on Thursday, the leader of the House has said.

Sir George Young said peers would then consider the Police Detention and Bail Bill early next week.

The move to rush through new laws comes after ministers told MPs that waiting for the results of an appeal to the Supreme Court would take too long.

The initial ruling, made by a district judge and backed by a judicial review at the High Court, means officers can no longer bail suspects for more than four days without either charging or releasing them.

His announcement came as three Supreme Court justices were considering an application from Greater Manchester Police (GMP) to stay the judgment pending a full appeal at the same court on July 25.

The row started when district judge Jonathan Finestein, sitting at Salford Magistrates' Court, refused a routine application from GMP for a warrant of further detention of murder suspect Paul Hookway on April 5.

High Court judge Mr Justice McCombe confirmed the ruling in a judicial review on May 19, which meant time spent on police bail counted towards the maximum 96-hour limit of pre-charge detention.

For the last 25 years, police and the courts have only counted the time spent being questioned or in police custody towards the limit, with many suspects being released on bail for months before being called back for further interviews.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper claimed it has led to police failing to arrest domestic violence suspects who breach bail conditions, leaving alleged victims vulnerable.

The Home Office has been criticised for not acting sooner to reverse the ruling.


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