O’Higgins report: Wider use of victim impact statements urged:
Victim Impact Statements are curently used at sentence stage in the criminal justice process. The idea of using them in the active/post investigation stage is novel. I think we would have to have another constitutional referendum on bail.
The DPP always has the option of calling oral evidence at the bail stage in any case where an alleged injured party to a crime is in fear or in danger, but in my 17 years exeperience that is a rare case.
Statements don’t prove themselves (as a written documents infringe the hersay rule) and the accused normally has the right to cross examine but hersay eveidence is already allowed with some latitude in bail cases.
The criminal justice system actually works in my veiw. When it’s overworked, it becomes unweildly just look at the recent ruling on Section 99 cases.
A better use of money is giving the Gardai a better IT system that allows for fully up to date intelligence on suspects to ensure that officers are aware of all investigations involving serious suspects so the bail errors dont’ occur.
We have a presumption that bail ought to be fixed and this cannot change, as to do so diminishes the presumption of innocennce.
A personal view only as ever!