Drug loophole discovered in bail conditions

THERE are no automatic systems in place across the state to ensure alleged offenders comply with court-imposed drug-testing orders as part of their bail conditions.

The serious loophole was revealed this week in the Brisbane Supreme Court when a judge asked to see the results of drug tests for a man being sentenced on minor drug possession charges so she could determine his eventual sentence.

The man's bail conditions required him to undergo weekly drug testing.

APN Newsdesk understands an independently conducted drug analysis can cost up to $500 per test and must be paid by the person who is requesting it.

The man subsequently found himself in the middle of a legal argument after Justice Ros Atkinson ordered the prosecutor to find out why the man's court-imposed bail conditions had not been met.

The prosecutor was forced to admit there was no system in place at the public prosecutions office to monitor whether drug-testing condition were being met, and there had not been for at least two decades.

He said it was the police service's responsibility to ensure bail conditions were being met.

"Maybe we should just stop giving people bail with those conditions," Justice Atkinson said.

"One would presume bail conditions are being met. If not, why bother having them?"

Justice Atkinson said she would draft a memo to her colleagues who dealt with bail applications to advise them if they imposed regular drug testing as part of a person's bail conditions, the chances were it would not be met.

A Queensland Police Service spokesperson would not confirm to APN Newsdesk what automatic systems were in place to monitor whether a person was fulfilling drug-testing requirements as part of their bail conditions.

But the spokesperson said police could request tests if they suspected an alleged offender had not complied.

"Any person subject to bail conditions are recorded, monitored and available to officers through the Queensland Police Service records and information management exchange," they said.

"A police officer that reasonably suspects a person's bail conditions is, have been, or likely to be contravened they may be arrested and taken before a court.

"This includes instances where drug usage may form part of the bail conditions."

A spokesperson for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) said police had oversight of compliance with the majority of bail conditions including residential conditions, reporting conditions and curfews.

The spokesperson said when bail orders were made, the DPP advised police of the terms and conditions.

- APN NEWSDESK.


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