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Release date: 10.30am Tuesday, 2 February 2021
Link to report summary
Estimating the impact of audio-visual link on being granted bail
New research by the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR)
finds no evidence that appearing in court via audio-visual link (AVL) disadvantages
defendants’ in their access to bail.
Over the last decade there has been a steady increase in
defendants in custody appearing in court via AVL from a Correctional Centre
rather than appearing in-person. Prior
to the COVID-19 pandemic, AVL was already used in a third of all first bail
hearings in NSW. Since the pandemic,
however, this has increased dramatically, and most bail proceedings currently proceed
AVL use in courts offers considerable logistical and
efficiency benefits for Justice agencies including reduced defendant transport
and improved security. However, concerns
have been raised that the use of this technology could disadvantage
A new BOCSAR study considers whether defendants who appear in court via AVL receive less
favourable bail decisions than those who appear in person.
To estimate the impact of appearing via AVL on bail
outcomes, we compared individuals who had their first court bail hearing via
AVL at two NSW Correctional Centres, Amber Laurel and Surry Hills, between Jan
2018 and Feb 2020, with similar individuals who had their first court bail
hearing over the same period.
different statistical approaches we found no meaningful difference in the
likelihood of bail refusal for defendants appearing via AVL at their first
court bail hearing compared with those appearing in person.
Fitzgerald, Executive Director at BOCSAR, welcomed the findings. “Equity of access is an important
underpinning of the criminal justice system.
Given the high stakes involved for defendants subjected to judicial
remand decisions it is reassuring that AVL does not appear to impact judicial
decisions. This is particularly
important given the increased use of AVL in modern court settings.”
Further enquiries: Jackie Fitzgerald, Executive Director 0423 139 687
Copies of the report: www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au