As of 31 March, 2018 new legislation was enacted in Queensland giving Magistrates the power to Order the wearing of tracking devices as a condition of being granted release on bail.
Initially the imposition of the tracking device was targeted to persons charged with a relevant domestic violence offence as part of the Governmental changes in response to the Domestic Violence issues across the state. The amendments however, apply to all persons seeking bail.
What are the amendments?
The amendments include the insertion of a provision that enables a court to impose a condition that the Defendant wear a tracking device whilst released on bail, including giving the power to the court to impose any other conditions necessary to facilitate the operation of the tracking device.
Under the Act a tracking device is defined as:-
“an electronic device capable of being worn, and not removed, by a person for the purpose of the Queensland police service, or the chief executive of the department in which the Corrective Services Act 2006 is administered, finding or monitoring the geographical location of the person”
A condition of being granted bail in Queensland is that the court must be satisfied that the Defendant seeking bail is not an unacceptable risk of reoffending or failing to appear.
The changes to the act includes a provision that in effect states that an Order to wear an electronic device does not remove the requirements to satisfy the unacceptable risk provisions (i.e. if the Defendant is an unacceptable risk of failing to appear an Order for an electronic device does not satisfy the court that there is no longer a risk of that nature). How this will operate in practice remains to be seen.
We are aware that the local Magistrates Court has made at least one of these Orders since the changes to the legislation came into effect.