Man free under our new Bail Act

A BOGGABILLA man accused of a string of sexual assaults on a young girl has been granted bail under the state’s new controversial bail laws.

Jason Craig Rigby will fight eight separate charges of aggravated sexual assault of  a child  under 16 when the case heads to trial.

Police allege Rigby sexually assaulted the 14-year-old girl several times before he was arrested on March 24 after he was spotted in a car with the  girl near Boggabilla.

The 36-year-old lodged a fresh bid for release in Moree District Court yesterday, after almost four months in custody.

Rigby had been refused bail under the old laws during earlier court appearances. 

Under the new Bail Act, there is no presumption for or against bail for serious offences.

Yesterday, the court found any unacceptable risk could be mitigated with strict conditions.

Magistrate Darryl Pearce granted conditional bail after Rigby was committed for  trial.

He is yet to formally enter a plea, but Rigby waived his right to a committal hearing yesterday and now the case will head straight to trial in Moree District Court.

Rigby will remain on bail while a trial date is set later this year.

The charges stem from an investigation on March 24 after officers discovered Rigby in a car near bushland out of Boggabilla.

About 5pm, Barwon police were conducting patrols of the area when they spotted the car travelling on a track in the scrub.

Officers stopped the car and spoke with Rigby and a 14-year-old girl, seated in the passenger seat.

Shortly after, police took the girl to Boggabilla Police Station where they made a number of inquiries.

After a short investigation, Rigby was arrested at a Boggabilla home that night and charged with eight separate alleged offences upon a 14-year-old girl. 

Last month, the state government announced a review into the new bail laws after concerns were raised that community safety was not front and centre during bail decisions.

In a statement at the time, Premier Mike Baird and Attorney-General Brad Hazzard said the review was to ensure the safety of the community, victims and witnesses. Safety is at the forefront of all decisions made on bail.

Former Attorney-General John Hatzistergos has been tasked to review the existing laws and recent bail decisions, and report any urgent changes needed.

An interim report is due later this month.

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