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Justice Minister David Lametti leaves a meeting of the Liberal caucus in Ottawa on May 31.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

The federal government’s Charter statement for its proposed bail reforms says there is “just cause” to deny bail if certain requirements are met.

Justice Minister David Lametti introduced a bill last month that would make it harder for some repeat violent offenders to seek pretrial release by putting the onus on them to prove why they should be granted bail.

Lawyers have raised concerns the law could be subject to a challenge under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees that anyone who is charged with a crime will not be denied reasonable bail without just cause.

The Charter statement says the proposed law targets situations where an accused person is likely to pose a serious risk to public safety if they get bail.

It says there is “just cause” to deny bail if the measure is applied narrowly and if the denial is needed to promote the overall proper functioning of the bail system.

The Liberals’ introduction of reforms came after months of pressure from provincial and territorial premiers, police groups, victims’ rights groups and opposition parties to address ongoing concerns over Canada’s bail system.

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