For some time now , defence lawyers have been concerned about the length of time that people arrested upon suspicion of a criminal offence have been kept on police bail.
In prosecutions for causing death by careless/dangerous driving a suspect can often be on police bail for around a year. This is largely due to police cutbacks , meaning that the police lack the man power with which to efficiently carry out criminal investigations. The effect of this is that a police suspect can be left in limbo not knowing whether or not they will face a criminal prosecution. This can put a person under an intolerable level of strain and anxiety. Further more it may mean that a person charged with an offence has less chance of successfully defending the case if, for example, people’s memories have faded or defence witnesses are not contactable.
Death by Careless/Dangerous Driving - Police Bail Powers
Although the courts do have the power to halt cases as an abuse of process due to inexcusable delay, this is a power that is very rarely used.
Death by Careless/Dangerous Driving Prosecution Extension
New proposals in the criminal law will mean that after a certain period of police bail has passed , the police will have to apply to the Magistrates court for an extension. One would like to think that Magistrates would refuse to extend the police bail time if there was no good reason for the delay.