Magistrate obliged to free Monis on bail
THE magistrate who granted Man Haron Monis bail two months before the deadly Lindt Cafe siege had no option after his “hands were tied” by the prosecutor, the inquest into the siege was told yesterday.
A panel of legal experts said the only way the magistrate at Penrith Local Court could have locked up Monis on October 10 last year was if the prosecutor had applied for his detention under existing bail laws.
But the NSW Government prosecutor, whose identity has been suppressed, made a deal with the defence lawyer before Monis appeared in court on a charge of being an accessory to the murder of his wife and 40 sexual assault charges.
The lawyers agreed the magistrate would be told Monis posed an “unacceptable risk” which could be mitigated by strict bail conditions and therefore he would be freed.
However, the expert panel was of the unanimous view a detention application should have been made so it was “at least possible” that Monis would have been refused bail.
Solicitor Jane Sanders, a member of the panel, said the prosecutor’s agreement had “bound” the court.
“And the prosecutor was in effect tying the magistrate’s hands,” she said.
The inquest continues.