27 Feb 2012

Campaign aims at bail law change

10:24 pm on 27 February 2012

A campaign to toughen bail laws is being launched in Auckland.

Campaigners gathered for the launch outside the High Court in Auckland on Monday.

The Sensible Sentencing Trust wants the Government to make several changes to the Bail Act.

It is asking for a law to keep those accused of serious charges, such as murder, behind bars until a verdict or a plea is made.

The trust also wants an automatic inquiry after a serious bail breach.

However the Criminal Bar Association says tightening the bail laws should not be at the expense of an accused person's rights.

And the director of the lobby group Rethinking Crime and Punishment, Kim Workman, says New Zealand courts remand defendants in custody at one of the highest rates in the world.

"In the last 10 years, the prison population has increased by 33% but the remand population has increased by 116% - so we are remanding a lot of people in custody.

The campaigners planned to march down Queen Street before circulating a petition.