[PN: In the past in Qld, bail was used to make the struggle for democratic rights costly. After mass arrests police would set cash bail higher so that more money went into state coffers. After a large demonstration over $30,000 was needed to bail out the people arrested. Police would even charge organisers with ‘begging’ because organisers were asking people for money on the street to bail out those arrested. One counter to this tactic by police was for people to voluntarily stay in the watchouse overnight and front the magistrate the next day and ask that they be ‘bailed on their own recognisance’ (meaning, no need to set bail because they would give an undertaking to turn up in court on the trial date). On 18 Dec 2012 Qld police and the Brisbane Magistrates Court used the bail act to prevent a traditional owner from returning to Musgrave Park when he defended customary law in lighting the sacred fire on his own country (pictured above and video below). Prohibitive bail conditions like the one described in Andy’s report is another example of the political use of bail by police. Ian Curr December 2015]
[Broadcast on Brisbane Line (4zzz fm 102.1, Saturday 19 Dec 2015]
Last week Iain Pritchard was arrested in a protest for climate action. At the police station he was surprised to find that he was not being offered bail and would have to stay in custody until his case could be heard in court.
This is unusual, but perhaps not that unusual. A look at the history of civil disobedience in Australia will show that bail is often used to restrict protest activities.
Reporter Andy Paine spoke to President of the Queensland Council of Civil Liberties Michael Cope about the purpose of bail and whether it should be used to punish or stop those who engage in civil disobedience.