68. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the extent to which changes in the law affecting bail have addressed the issue of recidivism with particular reference to the number of offenders repeating offences while on bail; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4372/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I can assure the Deputy that addressing the issue of offences committed by persons while on bail is a priority for this Government.
The Criminal Justice Act 2017, enacted on 28 June 2017, made a number of changes to the bail laws with the aim of strengthening the bail system and making the law as effective as possible in protecting the public against crimes committed by persons on bail. The court has the power to refuse bail where there are reasonable grounds to believe the person is likely to commit a serious offence. In assessing this likelihood, the court must take into account the nature and seriousness of the offence, the accused person’s previous offending and may also take into account the danger he or she poses to the public if bail is granted.
The Criminal Justice Act 2017 also strengthened Garda powers to deal with breaches of bail providing a power of arrest without warrant in certain circumstances, and made provisions to increase the use of curfews and to facilitate the introduction of electronic tagging for those on bail in certain circumstances.
The Deputy will appreciate that given the new bail laws were only introduced in 2017, the full impact of these provisions will not yet be reflected in the official recorded crime statistics. As you will be aware, the Central Statistics (CSO), as the national statistical agency, is responsible for the compilation and publication of the official recorded crime statistics. The table at Appendix A shows the number of crime incidents which are recorded as having at least one offender on bail for the years 2013-2017. The figures for 2018 are not available from the CSO at this time.
It is worth noting that all statistics on recorded crimes are currently categorised as “Under Reservation”. The Central Statistics Office (CSO), in conjunction with An Garda Síochána continue to make good progress on returning the crime figures to the higher standard expected of our national crime statistics. I am determined that this body of work be completed as soon as possible and I welcome the continued diligence of the Policing Authority in monitoring this matter.
The following table shows the number of crime incidents which are recorded as having at least one offender on bail for the years 2013-2017. The figures for 2018 are not available from the CSO at this time.
No. of Crime Incidents which are Recorded as having at least one Offender on Bail for the years 2013 - 2017
|01 Homicide Offences||7||10||8||4||5|
|02 Sexual Offences||20||26||28||24||30|
|03 Attempts/Threats to Murder,assaults, harassments and related offences||504||669||745||746||912|
|04 Dangerous or Negligent Acts||216||300||326||431||502|
|05 Kidnapping and Related Offences||7||6||16||8||13|
|06 Robbery, Extortion and Hijacking Offences||285||399||371||322||351|
|07 Burglary and Related Offences||1241||1674||1532||1331||1342|
|08 Theft and Related Offences||4116||5136||5636||6007||6907|
|09 Fraud, Deception and Related Offences||168||224||281||243||248|
|10 Controlled Drug Offences||1163||1822||1883||1987||2035|
|11 Weapons and Explosives Offences||337||438||463||436||463|
|12 Damage to Property and to the Environment||641||878||901||866||841|
|13 Public Order and other Social Code Offences||2841||3713||4558||4258||5180|
|15 Offences against Government, Justice Procedures and Organisation of Crime||4777||6629||8073||8823||9519|