Date: 24 June 2021
Court/Tribunal: Queensland Court of Appeal
Judicial Officer/Tribunal Member: Freeburn J
Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld) Sections: ss 9, 29(5), 58
Rights Considered: Right to liberty and security of person,
Other Legislation: Bail Act 1980 (Qld); Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld)
Keywords: Criminal Law and Corrective Services

This case concerned an application for bail, in which the applicant relied upon the right to liberty and security of person (section 29 of the Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld)). Specifically, the applicant’s argument rested on unreasonable delay in the circumstances of his case. The Queensland Court of Appeal accepted that, weighing the factors at play, the applicant’s risk of reoffending was ameliorated to an acceptable level and that his continued detention in custody was unjustified.

The applicant, Mr Dunshea, applied for the fifth time for bail. From the third and fourth bail applications onwards, Mr Dunshea was required to show cause pursuant to section 16(3)(g) of the Bail Act 1980 (Qld).

Dunshea contends that there are five “new” circumstances that qualify as additional material facts that have arisen since the previous four applications. They were (1) he has been placed in a three-month residential rehabilitation program, (2) there has been delay in his case, (3) the quantum of his fraud charges have been reduced, (4) proceedings involving the custody of his son, and (5) he has a release plan involving a residential rehab program and the engagement of a psychologist: at [11].

Mr Dunshea argued that pursuant to section 29(5) of the Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld), he should be released from custody as there has been an unreasonable delay in bringing his matter to trial. Section 58 of the Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld) is not applicable here, as Mr Dunshea’s detention is a result of the Court, and the Court is not a public entity under s 9(1) and (4) of the Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld).

Nevertheless, the delay and other factors were also relevant for the bail application under the Bail Act 1980 (Qld). Without relying on the Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld) the court decided that Mr Dunshea established his continued detention in custody was not justified and successfully showed cause at [154].

Visit the judgment: Re Dunshea [2021] QSC 163