Nicholas Cowdery SC talks to media on bail in light of Sydney siege

Nicholas Cowdery SC,  former Director of Public Prosecutions in NSW and NSWCCL Committee member, has been prominent in the media speaking on bail law in relation to Sydney siege gunman, Man Haron Monis.

Cowdery has said to the Sydney Morning Herald that the changes to bail law, due to commence in January, would not have made any difference in Monis' case as judicial officers and police were not aware of his "dark and evil" thoughts. 

"You can't legislate to deal with that. It doesn't matter how much you muck around with the laws, there are still going to be occasions - hopefully rare - where the justice system cannot see into the deep psyche of such a person."

Article: Man Monis granted bail six days after controversial bail laws bought in (Source: Sydney Morning Herald, 16/12/14)

Speaking on the 7.30 Report last night, Cowdery told Leigh Sales in relation to the way forward from this tragedy: "I don't think we need any changes to the law, I think we have the laws that [police and other agencies] can work with quite effectively, and I think that politicians need to accept that."

Watch: Sydney siege: criticism of judicial and police officers over bail 'unfair' says former DPP (Source: 7.30 Report, ABC, 16/12/14)

He also told ABC radio:

"With the benefit of hindsight all of us can be geniuses and make the right decisions.

But the fact is that when it comes to matters of bail or sentencing, or any orders that are made by a court in the course of a criminal justice process, the judicial officer can act only on the information of the evidence that is then known and made available for that purpose.

So it's a matter of a proper presentation of the facts and the evidence to the court, it's a matter of the court making, striking an appropriate balance between the freedom on the individual, which we do take very seriously in our society, and the protection of the community."

Listen: Lawyers defend releasing Man Haron Monis on bail (Source: The World Today, ABC Radio 16/12/14)

Cowdery further noted in the Australian that the incident highlights the need for better resourcing of the justice system.

Article: Sydney siege: Risks of playing politics with law (Source: The Australian, 17/12/14)


See also

Listen: Did Man Haron Monis slip through legal cracks? (Source: RN Drive, ABC Radio, 16/12/14)

Listen: Questions asked about why Sydney gunman was on bail (Source: PM, ABC Radio, 16/12/14)

Article: Sydney siege: Gunman Man Haron Monis would have been in custody if Bail Act changes had been in place, NSW Attorney-General says (Source: 7 News, 17/12/14)

Listen: Former Director of Public Prosecutions Nicholas Cowdery discusses why Sydney siege gunman Man Haron Monis was on bail and allowed to walk free (Source: ABC Radio, 17/12/14)

Article: Sydney siege: Aberrant case not an argument for tougher bail laws (Source: WA Today, 17/12/14)