Bail is the temporary release of an individual whom is awaiting trial. This may or may not be on a condition that a specific amount of money be deposited in order to guarantee that the individual will present themselves on the date(s) they are to appear at Court. In most cases the money deposited will be returned following the trail if all Court appearances are made by the alleged offender regardless of the verdict.
Flow chart of decisions (s16):
When considering weather or not to grant bail, there are two main factors which the court takes into consideration. These are:
The need to show cause
- Showing cause requires the defendant to explain to the court why a term of imprisonment before trial is not justified
- Whether or not a defendant will have to show cause is dependent on the offence, whether previous bail/parole had already been granted
- will the defendant attend court when required?
- will the defendant continue to commit serious offences?
- will the defendant endanger any person or community?
- will the defendant interfere with witnesses or evidence?
Other factors that the courts considered during the bail process include:
- the amount of prior convictions;
- type of offence committed; and
- social and economic situation of the alleged offender.
The chances of overturning an unsuccessful bail application are significantly low. With arrests continually occurring outside business hours or on the weekend, the refusal of bail at the police station means the alleged offender must wait until opening hours of the nearest court.
If you have been granted bail, there may be a number of special conditions imposed by the court, which can not be breached. Some of these conditions include:
- report to police everyday
- live at a specific address
- surrender you passport
- not associate with specific people
- not go within a certain distance of a specific location
- obey a certain curfew
If you are in breach of your bail conditions, then it is likely that you will be arrested and brought back to court. However, if a police officer decides that your breach is not serious, they can decide to issue you a warning, rather than arrest you.