Police anger over bailed law-breakers

POLICE are angry that repeat offenders are being bailed only to continue breaking the law.

Renewed frustration has been sparked by incidents that include a Northern Tasmanian man allegedly ramming a police car and evading arrest while on bail for car stealing offences.

Police Association of Tasmania president Randolph Wierenga  said that the bail situation was a constant source of frustration for police.

``In an ideal world you would hope that the courts were working alongside police but our aims are different and as a result . . . the workload of police has increased because the people we know offend are let out on bail,'' he said.

However, Launceston defence lawyer Adrian Hall said there was a presumption of innocence until the court determined the issue.

``People are prima facie entitled to their freedom,'' Mr Hall said.

``Until such time they have the ultimate issue determined, prima facie they should be bailed.

``(Police) arrested them but that doesn't mean they are guilty of the offence. That is a decision of the court.''

In 2010 police expressed long-standing frustration over the number of repeat offenders - often teenagers - being bailed when they were put before the courts.

Sergeant Wierenga said he believed that the balance between police and the court system was incorrect.

``You've got to balance the rights of the offender but you have also got to take into account the rights of the victim and the cost to society of continually allowing these people to offend,'' he said.

Mr Hall disagreed.

``If you ask most members of the community `should we lock people up in anticipation of them committing further crime?', which is essentially what we are asking the court to do, I think I am pretty sure what most people would say,'' Mr Hall said.


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