The Court of Appeal on Monday gave its reasons for releasing on bail a man accused of a mass shooting at a birthday party three months after he was charged.
Jeremiah Andrews is accused of 11 counts of possession of a firearm with the intent to endanger life in connection with the June 30 incident.
He was charged and refused bail in July, but on October 3 the Court of Appeal ordered his release on $12,000 bail on the condition that he reports to the East Street South Police Station three times a week and wears an electronic monitoring device.
In written reasons, the appellate tribunal decided that a Supreme Court judge was wrong to refuse Andrews bail only because he faced serious charges.
The panel of Justices of Appeal Jon Isaacs, Milton Evans and Stella Crane-Scott determined: “It is apparent that the learned judge was swayed by the fact that the applicant was charged with multiple serious offenses and that in his view there was cogent evidence of the applicant’s involvement in the offenses charged.
“In our view the learned judge unfortunately failed to have due regard to the authorities which makes it clear that the serious nature of offenses charged without more is not a sufficient basis for the denial of bail.”
The court said that judges must remember that the primary objective in refusing bail “is to secure his appearance for his trial and to ensure that he is available to be punished if found guilty. Indeed, if a person’s presence at trial can be reasonably ensured otherwise than by his detention, it would be unjust and unfair to deprive him of his liberty”.