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Law ruling could free Island suspects

Friday, July 1, 2011 - 8:01

MURDER suspects in the Damien Nettles case could be among those freed without charge, following a landmark High Court ruling.
Police forces have been thrown into confusion after the High Court upheld a decision by a district judge, which means suspects can only be held for 96 hours on bail, including time not spent in custody.
Previously, people have been released on bail for weeks or months while an investigation is carried out.
It is not known how many people in Island cases have been on bail for more than 96 hours. However, it does include the five men arrested on suspicion of killing Damien Nettles in 1996.
They were arrested on May 10 and bailed the following day, 51 days ago. They were later re-bailed until September 14, which would be 133 days after they were originally bailed.
Isle of Wight Law Society president Stephen Phillips said: "It is unreasonable to keep a person in custody, depriving them of liberty unnecessarily while investigations are carried out that could establish their innocence.
"The sensible course is to release on bail, pending investigation. Unfortunately this judgment has made the situation very difficult."
Association of Chief Police Officers lead Chief Constable Jim Baker-McCardle said: "Unless overturned, the indications are police can no longer put anyone on bail for more than 96 hours without either being in a position to charge or release."

Reporter: [email protected]

 


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