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GPS Tracking for Defendants on Bail in QLD

The Bail (Domestic Violence) and Another Act Amendment Act 2017 has been amended to allow for a court to impose the condition that a defendant wear a tracking device whilst on bail. The decision to impose the tracking condition must be made after a Magistrate has be satisfied that a defendant can be released on bail. A Magistrate cannot be influenced by the tracking condition, if they have sufficient cause to believe the defendant should be remanded in custody.

The premise of the new bail conditions is to strengthen bail compliance and improve overall community safety. It will provide the courts with the capability to monitor defendants on a 24 hour basis and ensure non-compliance is detected.

Whilst the introduction of a tracking device has its benefits, it also comes with numerous disadvantages and restrictions.

The tracking device will require GPS signal to ensure the location of the defendant can be located. The legislation requires that all devices must have a 3G network to ensure the viability of the device. If a device does not have 3G coverage, it will fail to meet statutory requirements. This is sure to upset those living regional areas where 3G networks can be patchy at best.

Any Magistrate who is satisfied that a defendant can be granted bail on the condition they wear a tracking device, must also impose a curfew condition. The addition of a curfew condition is often seen as onerous on the average persons’ lifestyle and causes substantial impediments to ones movements.

If you’re still weighing up whether you would be willing to wear this new piece of jewellery in exchange for your freedom, these tracking devices are highly visible. The associated stigma of being seen with one of these beacons in public may well prevent some defendants agreeing to the condition.

There are also numerous conditions attached to the wearing of such tracking device that are almost as intrusive as they are uncomfortable. These conditions include permitting a Police Officer to enter your premises to inspect the tracking device.

Finally, these tracking devices do not discriminate. They can be imposed on any person committing any offence, they are not exclusive to serious offences only.

Image Credit – Sira Anamwong ©

Written by John Sutton on July 3, 2018

John is partner of Armstrong Legal and head of the Criminal Law Division. The experience John possesses, being a high quality mix of defence and prosecution skills, together with his team at Armstrong Legal, mean you can be certain of accurate, dependable and practical advice on how your matter can dealt with. View John's profile

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