Bail and offending on bail: 2009 Statistics

Courts Minister Georgina te Heuheu has provided some statistics on bail and rates of offending while on bail.

The minister gave the details in March 2011 in reply to a series of written parliamentary questions from Labour list MP Charles Chauvel and Act list MP Hilary Calvert.

Mr Chauvel asked for information for the period January 2009 to December 2010. However, Mrs te Heuheu was only able to provide statistics for the 2009 calendar year. She said the 2010 statistics would be available in July.

Information the minister provided on various matters relating to bail in the period from January 2009 to December 2009 was as follows:

  • 4% of defendants failed to answer bail in 2009. This data counts people who were bailed on charges laid between January and December 2009.
  • 5% of defendants aged between 17 and 19 years failed to answer bail in 2009.
  • 35% of defendants aged between 17 and 19 years who had a previous conviction and spent time on bail between January and December 2009, offended while on bail. This does not include those whose most serious offence was failure to answer bail on those charges.
  • 66% of defendants aged between 17 and 19 years who spent time on bail between January and December 2009 had previously been convicted of an offence. This data counts people who were bailed on charges laid between January and December 2009.
  • Of the defendants who had a decision on bail in 2009, 0.32% were subject to the reverse burden of proof specified in s10 of the Bail Act 2000. That is, they were charged with an offence specified in that section, and had at least one previous conviction for one of those offences.
  • 30% of defendants who were charged with a Class A drug offence and spent time on bail committed a crime that carried more than 3 months' imprisonment while on bail between January and December 2009. This does not include those whose most serious offence was failure to answer bail on those charges. These figures cover the production, manufacture and distribution of Class A drugs.
  • 33% of defendants who were charged with a Class A drug offence and spent time on bail committed a crime while on bail between January and December 2009. This does not include those whose most serious offence was failure to answer bail on those charges. These figures cover the production, manufacture and distribution of Class A drugs.

Ms Calvert’s questions related to the period from March 2006 and the minister’s answers were for the period between March 2006 and December 2009. The information the minister provided showed:

  • 213 people charged with murder or manslaughter were released on bail. Of these, two had been convicted of a serious violent offence committed while on bail.
  • 18,119 people released on bail were convicted of an offence on bail that was the same or similar as the charge they were originally on bail for.
  • 441 people charged with manufacturing class A drugs had been released on bail. One had been convicted of a serious violent offence committed while on bail.
  • 50,679 17-19-year-olds charged with a criminal offence had been released on bail. Of these, 11,780 were convicted of a criminal offence while on bail. This figure excludes people whose most serious offence on bail was failure to answer bail.
  • Of the 50,679 17-19-year-olds released on bail, 508 were convicted of a serious violent offence committed while on bail.

This article was first published in LawTalk 770, 22 April 2011.