A public prosecutions solicitor says police made it “extremely difficult” to revoke bail for Man Haron Monis when they did not arrest him on multiple sexual assault charges two months before the Lindt cafe siege.
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) solicitor Linda Barnes has denied suggestions she should have tried to get Monis’s bail revoked while overseeing two charges of accessory to murder and three of sexual assault against the future siege gunman for four months from April 2014.
The inquest into the Sydney siege heard on Monday that Ms Barnes handled the case against Monis until August that year.
Ms Barnes said police made it difficult for the DPP to ask for Monis’s bail to be revoked when they brought 37 new sexual assault charges against him using Court Attendance Notices rather than arresting him.
Detectives have previously told the inquest they did not have the legal grounds to arrest Monis when the charges were laid in October 2014.
Monis instead attended court of his own volition and was allowed to remain on bail despite facing 40 sexual assault charges and the accessory to murder charges.
“It makes it extremely difficult for a prosecutor to make such an application,” Ms Barnes said of any possible application to have bail revoked.
“Releasing him back into the community, to me, says ‘we don’t have any concerns about him being in the community’.”
Barrister Gabrielle Bashir SC, representing the family of siege victim Tori Johnson, told Ms Barnes she should have sought to have Monis’s bail revoked at court hearings in May and July, 2014, while she was handling the Monis file for the DPP.
Ms Bashir asked why Ms Barnes did not read the 20 volumes of evidence in the brief against Monis and suggested she did not do a proper handover of the case to the next prosecutor when she was moved to a new job.
Ms Barnes said she had done the necessary preparation and briefed the new solicitor “on all the relevant information that he needed”.
The court has heard the prosecutor that took over the case had only recently started work with the DPP and had agreed with Monis’s solicitor the day before the October hearing not to oppose bail.
The inquest has heard from homicide detectives that they were upset when Monis was granted bail against their opposition in December 2013 and again in May 2014.
However Ms Barnes said the police never raised their dissatisfaction with her.
The inquest will hear from a panel of bail experts on Tuesday.