Dylan Thorne

Dylan is the deputy editor of the Bay of Plenty Times.

Editorial: Robbery lead-up highlights bail flaws


New Zealand's bail laws are under the spotlight again after yet another frightening example of flaws in the system.

Yesterday, we reported on a case where a man carried out an aggravated robbery one day after he had been arrested for carrying a knife and told authorities he wanted to stab someone.

In October, Bevan Peter Brown, 34, was arrested after he was found walking down a street with a knife.

He told police he was heading towards Countdown Greerton, where he had intended to stab someone.

Police had earlier been alerted by a mental health worker he had told about his plan.

He was arrested, charged and the following day he appeared in Tauranga District Court.

Amazingly, police did not oppose bail and hours later he was back on the streets carrying a knife.

He went to Greerton Countdown, took some groceries and left the store with his hand on the knife in his jacket pocket.

He then crossed the road to the Colorado Dairy and robbed the co-owner at knife-point.

He was arrested again and told police that he had the knife to threaten people, was feeling suicidal and had homicidal thoughts of going to a crowded supermarket and stabbing someone.

Brown pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated robbery, possession of a knife and threatening to kill or cause grievous bodily harm with a stabbing/cutting weapon in Tauranga District Court and was remanded in custody.

Police say appropriate reviews were undertaken and appropriate agency referrals made.

However, given Brown's comments about wanting to stab someone, I find it hard to fathom how he was granted bail.

The court has a duty to protect the public in such cases.

A point not lost on Colorado Dairy co-owner Muhammad Begg, whose son was robbed by Brown.

He is angry, understandably, and feels like the system let them down.

In my view, Brown was also let down by the system. His confessions to the mental health work and the police appear to have been cries for help. It is another illustration of why this country's bail laws need to be toughened up.

Parliament is considering a bill designed to make sweeping changes to bail legislation following the death of Christie Marceau, who was stabbed to death in a frenzied attack in her Auckland home last year.

As this paper has noted before, protecting individual rights is the cornerstone of a free society, but there are occasions when the greater good must take precedence.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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