Media Release: Bail Law Changes Are Knee-Jerk Law-Making Print E-mail
Sunday, 06 June 2004


MEDIA RELEASE:  Muslim Civil Rights Group Says Bail Law Changes Are “Knee-Jerk Law-Making of the Worst Kind”.


Sydney, 5 June 2004 - The Australian Muslim Civil Rights Advocacy Network (AMCRAN) believes that the introduction of laws to reverse the presumption of bail in terrorism cases is knee-jerk law-making of the worst kind.


Agnes Chong, Legal Convenor of AMCRAN, said: “There are three fundamental flaws with the way this has been done.

“Firstly, it was rushed through both houses of the New South Wales Parliament in just 48 hours. Any law rushed through like this is not going to be good law. It is knee-jerk law-making of the worst kind, stemming from nothing but hysteria. Legislation that deals with important principles like the onus of proof, and the presumption that people should not be detained until and unless they are found guilty need careful deliberation and analysis, and to try to introduce legislation like this inevitably leads to bad law.


“Secondly, the government has unabashedly admitted that the changes were introduced in relation to a specific case, that of Bilal Khazal. A principle that is deeply entrenched in the Australian Constitution is the separation of powers between the judiciary and the legislature. If legislators start making laws in reaction to particular cases, indeed, to affect the outcome of particular cases, this brutally undermines the principle. Because of the new law, Bilal Khazal’s case will be affected when it is next heard on review. This is like shifting the goalposts in the middle of a football game.


“Thirdly, the whole process shows a blatant disrespect for the judicial system, its impartiality and fairness. The greatest irony in all of this is that the Crown Prosecutor was reportedly ‘neutral’ on the bail issue; leaving it up to the judge. Given that even the prosecutor, who knows the evidence better than any politician or the general public, didn’t demand that bail be refused, what kind of position are politicians in to interfere in the process?”


For further information, contact:

Waleed Kadous 0403 440 586



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