Bail - What Is It?

Bail – What Is It & When Is It Granted?

Bail is usually granted when an amount of money is paid in exchange for an accused person being released from custody until they appear in Court to hear the case against them.

The people who provide money are called sureties and they provide a guarantee by way of an undertaking to make sure that the accused person appears at the scheduled hearing. If the accused does not turn up to the hearing, then the sureties lose the money that was exchanged.

The Court needs to consider a number of factors before granting bail because it is not a common law right or privilege given to every accused person.

Bail considerations

The nature of the offence

Whether or not you would receive bail is usually determined on what the offence was and the seriousness of the offence. It would also depend on whether you would be considered a danger to other people if released from custody.

The likely punishment for the offence

It would seem more likely for the Court to grant bail to an accused person who is not looking at an imprisonment term rather than a person who is.

The likelihood of returning to court

It must be determined whether the accused can be trusted to return to court on the set hearing date. If there is any doubt, there is a possibility that bail will not be given, or if given with conditions to be met.

Interfering with witnesses

If there is any chance of an accused interfering with witnesses in order to collude regarding their story, the accused may not be given bail, or if given bail would include strict conditions regarding contacting key witnesses.

Likelihood of reoffending

An accused person’s criminal record and history is taken into account. If the accused has an extensive criminal record with a history of reoffending while on bail then the likelihood of receiving bail would be minimal, whereas if it was a person’s first offence then it can be argued that they have a decreased likelihood of reoffending prior to appearing in court.

At the end of the day, cause must be shown by the prosecution as to why someone should remain in custody prior to appearing at their hearing. If they cannot prove cause, then the accused person should in most cases be given bail with conditions to be met on it.

Can an accused person appeal?

If an accused is not given bail and they’re of the belief that there is no cause for them to be remanded in custody, they are entitled to appeal the decision made.

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