Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Criminals could walk free if not charged in 96 hours - really?

This ruling announced today could have massive implications. Made by a district judge at Salford Magistrates' Court and backed by the High Court, the ruling means an end to the practice of releasing people on bail and calling them back for further questioning later - a common practice in most major inquiries.

Police forces can no longer put anyone out on bail for more than 96 hours without either being in a position to charge or release them. After the four days is up, officers can no longer question suspects and can only rearrest them if they have new evidence, the ruling says.
Apparently police chiefs have been left baffled by the "bizarre" ruling and both the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) are currently considering the ramifications for forces across England and Wales.

Surely the ruling will be overturned otherwise it will change the whole face of the justice system. There will be chaos, with many cases having to be shelved, to the massive to distress of victims. My guess is emergency legislation will have to be put in place. Let's wait and see.

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