Are you ready for EM Bail?
Electronic monitoring while on bail (EM Bail) is a good option for many defendants, but one that is often not taken up for a variety of reasons. In addition, a large number of applications are withdrawn or declined because the necessary information is not available.
The Department of Corrections has introduced a service to help improve the quality of EM Bail applications filed in Court, to reduce the number of those that are incomplete or unsuitable.
Eight “EM Bail Ready Advisors” are currently working out of remand units in 12 prisons across New Zealand. The Advisors work with newly remanded defendants and their counsel to improve the likelihood that an application for EM Bail will be successful.
While EM Bail may not be suitable or appropriate for everyone, where it is an option, the EM Bail Ready Advisors will discuss an application with counsel prior to talking to the defendant. They will also ensure that EM Bail applications generated by the defendant themselves are redirected through assigned counsel so counsel are not caught unaware.
EM Bail Ready Advisors are there to provide support, including:
- assisting the defendant to fill out his or her EM bail application form;
- ensuring all necessary information is provided and is verifiable;
- carrying out pre-checks;
- checking the defendant has provided the right information;
- contacting the occupants at the defendant’s proposed address to make sure they understand what EM bail means and are willing to support the application; and
- conducting a remote feasibility check of the proposed address to make sure electronic monitoring is likely to work at the property.
Once all the necessary information has been gathered, it is provided to counsel, who will make a final decision about whether or not to file an application for EM Bail.
The new EM Bail Ready initiative is endorsed by lawyers Marie Dyhrberg QC, Mike Antunovic, Lorraine Smith, Mark Edgar and Ish Jayanandan.
One lawyer expressed gratitude following a recent successful application: “It is because of your preparation that the application went so smoothly. Whether he was granted EM Bail or not, your contribution to the application relieved me of much work and pressure and also meant the application was as good as it could be for the Judge.”
A Ministry of Justice Service Manager reinforced the importance of the new advisors:
“I just wanted to send an email to say I think the initiative your people are doing to strengthen the EM Bail process with dedicated staff members assisting is an excellent idea! We are grateful for your assistance to the Court, and also to the Defendants who really need it. It ensures they get appropriate justice.”
For more information about the EM Bail application process, or to contact an EM Bail Ready Advisor, contact EMBailReady@corrections.govt.nz.