Lawyers raising concerns new bail laws won't be Charter compliant

Will bail laws fit Charter?

Criminal lawyers are raising concerns that proposed changes to Canada's bail laws won't be constitutional, as they eagerly await a statement explaining why the federal Liberals think the reforms comply with the Charter.

Vancouver criminal lawyer Kyla Lee says the federal government's proposed changes making it harder for some repeat violent offenders to get bail might not be Charter compliant, given that bail is a constitutional right.

The legislation currently before Parliament would introduce reverse-onus bail conditions for people charged with serious violent offences involving a weapon, in cases where the person was convicted of a similar violent offence within the last five years.

Ottawa criminal lawyer Lawrence Greenspon says it's concerning that the government has yet to issue a Charter statement explaining why the proposed law is compliant.

He is concerned the government is being too reactive to a vocal minority alarmed over a recent spate of violent crime.

Justice Minister David Lametti's office says a Charter statement will be tabled when the law is up for second reading in Parliament, but it is not clear when that will be.

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