By Cameron Ford*
The Northern Territory Supreme Court has considered for the first time in a published decision the presumption against bail in s 7A(2) of the Bail Act (NT).
In R v Wilson  NTSC 15, Reeves J held that the section imposed a heavy burden on an applicant for bail who must show some special or unusual aspect distinguishing the situation from the general or ordinary circumstances common to most bail applications (at ). In doing so, his Honour applied the approach of the New South Wales Court of Appeal in Director of Public Prosecutions (Cth) v Germakian (2006) 166 A Crim R 201 to the similar New South Wales provision, s 8A of the Bail Act 1978 (NSW).
Section 7A(2) provides: “A person accused of an offence to which this section applies is not to be granted bail unless the person satisfied an authorised member or Court that bail should not be refused.”
The accused was charged with a serious sexual offence, had pleaded guilty and was almost certain to serve a lengthy term of imprisonment (at ). Factors such as his youth, his strong community ties and desire to continue education, the offering of a cash security and the unlikelihood of further risk to the victim were not sufficiently special or unusual to discharge the heavy burden of the presumption against bail (at ).
* Barrister; Executive Editor, NTLJ; Editor-in-Chief, NTLR.