FREDERICTON (GNB) – Justice and public safety ministers and attorneys general from across the country met on Friday in Ottawa to discuss laws regarding bail.

The participants all agreed that recent tragic events across the country have raised concerns about the bail system.

“There certainly is evidence that changes are needed,” said Justice Minister and Attorney General Attorney General Hugh J. Flemming. “I am pleased the federal government agrees and plans to take action through amendments to the Criminal Code as early as this legislative session.”

Public Safety Minister Kris Austin acknowledged it is a complicated issue, but said the status quo is not the answer.

“When it comes to bail, there is a delicate balancing that needs to be maintained: the presumption of innocence and community safety. Tilting in either direction can harm confidence in the administration of justice,” Austin said. “I believe, however, under the current situation it is too hard to detain even repeat violent offenders ahead of trial and many are being released shortly after being arrested. As we have seen recently, this can lead to tragic consequences.”

Austin said he is also pleased the federal government understands the gravity of the situation and the need for action.

“Minister Flemming and I will explore what can be done in our province and will keep voicing New Brunswick’s concerns until there is a satisfactory resolution,” he said.