Court rejects call to reverse judgment on police bail

The highest court in the land has dismissed an attempt to suspend a legal ruling which has left the police bail system in chaos, hampering investigations and threatening thousands of prosecutions.

Three Supreme Court justices dismissed the "unusual" application from Greater Manchester Police to stay the judgment pending a full appeal at the same court on 25 July. The initial ruling, made by a district judge in May and backed by a judicial review at the High Court, means officers can no longer bail suspects for more than four days without either charging or releasing them.

Emergency legislation is due to be rushed through the Commons tomorrow and the Lords next week to reverse the decision amid fears that the full appeal to the Supreme Court would take too long, the Government has said.

For the last 25 years, police and the courts have only counted the time spent being questioned or in police custody towards the limit, with many suspects released on bail for months before being called back for further interviews.

The Home Office has been criticised for not acting sooner to reverse the ruling.