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The Premier of NSW, Chris Minns has announced the Attorney General will make an official referral to the Crown Advocate David Kell SC to determine if urgent law reform is needed to bail laws, following the death of 28-year-old Molly Ticehurst at Forbes in the state’s Central West.

Her former partner Daniel Billings is charged with murder as well as breaching an apprehended violence order.

“There are serious questions for the New South Wales Government to answer as to how this alleged offender was out on bail,” Minns said in a press conference with Attorney General Michael Daley and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Jodie Harrison. 

“We have a duty of care to alleged victims, particularly those that are awaiting justice through the criminal justice system.”

“We acknowledge the status quo isn’t working, particularly for vulnerable young women.” 

The advice from the Crown Advocate will look at the decisions and circumstances that led to the release of Billings. 

“Our obligation is to protect victims of crime in the state,” Minns said.

Chris Minns, Premier of New South Wales Chris Minns, Premier of New South Wales

“We acknowledge the status quo isn’t working, particularly for vulnerable young women”

The Premier announced the government intends to examine the role of registrars in bail applications on weekends in regional communities and also explore the use of audio-visual links. 

“These are weighty and important decisions for magistrates to make in short periods of time,” said Minns. 

“We want to make sure members of the judiciary, wherever possible, are the ones making those decisions and bearing the responsibility of those decisions.” 

Daley said there would also be a referral to the Bail Act Monitoring Group, which consists of representatives from agencies and organisations including the Department of Communities and Justice, police, the DPP and Legal Aid NSW. The group examines and reports on the operation of the Bail Act.

Law Society of NSW President Brett McGrath has welcomed the referrals.

“The issues under consideration go beyond the specifics of the current tragic circumstances,” he said. “The reviews announced today must be considered in the context of the current resourcing and pressures on the NSW criminal justice system.”

The Attorney General cautioned against any commentary that could jeopardise the criminal case.

“I want to see justice done here for Molly,” Daley said. 

The government expects to receive the report from David Kell SC by the end of May.