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Monday, July 04, 2011

Emergency Law To Reverse Police Bail Ruling

Emergency Law To Reverse Police Bail Ruling

The Government is to bring in emergency legislation to reverse a controversial legal ruling on police bail.

The initial decision was made by a district judge and backed by a judicial review at the High Court.

The move meant officers can no longer bail suspects for more than four days without either charging or releasing them.

The House of Commons will debate the bill on Thursday, so it can go to the House of Lords early next week.

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

A row over the issue started when district judge Jonathan Finestein at Salford Magistrates Court refused a routine application from Greater Manchester Police for a warrant for further detention of a murder suspect.

High Court judge Mr Justice McCombe backed the ruling in a judicial review and said that the time spent on police bail counted towards the maximum 96-hour limit of pre-charge detention.

For the last 25 years, only the time spent being questioned or in police custody has counted towards that limit.

Many suspects have been released on bail for months before being called back for further interviews.

Home Secretary Theresa May said: "There is a clear need to act fast to make sure we put things right for the police.

"There is no question that I will always give the police the tools and powers they need to catch criminals, investigate crimes and protect the public."

Policing Minister Nick Herbert admitted last week that officials were told of the oral judgement on June 17 and alerted ministers on June 24.

Comment: How is it that the government can act so fast on this and yet so slow on the Prisoners Votes Case?

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