The Arrest of Mostafa Baluch Reignites Bail Furore

michael bosscher

With news that alleged drug importer Mostafa Baluch has been found and arrested, police are continuing to make comments about the original grant of bail, the latest indicating how police are “furious the magistrate allowed him out on bail”.

A grant of bail is a consideration of certain risks to the community etc and are founded on a number of factors, including a person’s criminal history but importantly the strength of the police case.

Police did not provide the court with the appropriate amount of evidence to satisfy a Magistrate that bail should not be granted. It was Police who failed to satisfy a court in circumstances where they, after obviously spending considerable resources in investigating Mr Baluch, could not compile a compelling enough argument.

The Magistrate granted bail with extremely strict conditions, including wearing an ankle bracelet that is monitored by police 24/7. Police are alerted immediately when a bracelet is tampered with so would have been aware as soon as the bracelet was removed. The fact police did not react, in circumstances where there is no doubt Mr Baluch was being closely scrutinised and monitored, is not the fault of a court or Magistrate. It was the police who failed in allowing Mr Baluch to be on the run for over a week.

I doubt we will ever hear the police accept any responsibility.

Whilst instances where defendant’s charged with serious crimes who flee (or attempt to) whilst on bail often garner significant media attention, it is rarely (if ever) made public when the opposite circumstances arise.

It is significantly more common for police to successfully object to bail for defendant’s who go on to be successful in defending their criminal matters. The public does not hear of the many instances of this occurring.

An example is a recent client of Bosscher Lawyers who was charged with three (3) separate sets of offending, including serious drug offences that would have potentially resulted in a significant prison sentence for the client.

Police objected strongly to bail for the man who had no criminal history whatsoever.

After some months in custody, the man was released on a strict bail undertaking which included 18 conditions. Amongst those was a curfew, reporting multiple times per week to police and a requirement for a surety to be deposited to the court to secure his release.

After approximately ten (10) months, in early November 2021, every single charge laid by police had been discontinued by prosecutions.

Our client, a man with no criminal history, had unnecessarily spent time in custody because police had objected to bail for offences that our client should never have faced. Our client has never received an apology, the police have never held a press conference to tell the media nor is our client eligible to receive any compensation.

It is important to note that if police were to have their positions routinely adopted by the courts, there would be an overwhelming amount of defendants in custody potentially for years, awaiting the outcome of their matters. The courts play an integral role in assessing who is in fact appropriate to be bailed and who is not.

Whilst the courts will not always get it right, it is unhelpful and unfair for police to criticise in the rare event of something such as this matter unfolding. Again, we do not see the same scrutiny placed on themselves for innocent people who are inappropriately charged by police.