What is bail and what does it mean if you’re released on police bail? – The Sun
BAIL can see a suspect released while their case is heard in the courts.
The decision whether to grant bail lies in the hands of magistrates and judges. Here is what you need to know…
What is bail?
If granted bail a suspect can return to their home or a designated address while their case travels through the criminal system.
In most cases police can only hold a suspect in custody for 24 hours before charging them or releasing them.
When a suspect enters the court system after being charged with a crime magistrates will decide if they are granted bail or remanded in custody.
Court bail covers the period from the the suspect's first appearance in the magistrates' court to the date the defendant is sentenced for the crime, found not guilty or if the case is thrown out.
Both the suspect and prosecutors can apply for bail conditions to be changed during the case.
Why can bail be refused?
The courts can refuse a person bail for the following reasons:
- If the court feels there is a risk of the defendant absconding
- To prevent the defendant committing further crimes
- To prevent the defendant from interfering with witnesses
- For the defendant's own protection
- If the defendant is in prison for another offence
- Where the court does not have sufficient information about the defendant
- If following conviction it is necessary to keep the defendant in custody for pre-sentence reports to be completed
- If the defendant has breached bail conditions
What conditions can be placed on bail?
Courts can grant conditional or unconditional bail.
If a court grants conditional bail the defendant must abide by restrictions set down by magistrates or a judge.
Conditional bail can be used to reduce the risk of the defendant committing further offences, interfering with witnesses, absconding or for their own protection.
Conditions that can be imposed include a curfew, a requirement to surrender a passport, an electronic tag, a requirement to report to a police station, or not to drive.
The courts can also impose a surety or security requirement as an insurance against a defendant fleeing.
What is a surety and what happens if the defendant flees?
A surety or sureties will put a sum of money in the hands of the court as a guarantee that the defendant will not abscond during a case if they are granted bail.
The sum of money or value of assets required to grant a defendant bail will be decided by the court.
If the defendant does flee the surety will forfeit the money or asset.
The surety will have an opportunity to tell the court why they should not lose the entire sum, but the starting point is that the whole amount should be deducted.
Former Lord Chief Justice John Widgery QC said: “[T]he surety has seriously entered into a serious obligation and ought to pay the amount which he or she has promised unless there are circumstances in the case, relating either to means or to culpability, which make it fair and just to pay a smaller sum”.
What happens to a defendant if they breach bail conditions?
If a suspect breaches bail conditions they will be brought back before the court.
It is then the decision of magistrates or a judge whether the suspect is remanded in custody or released on bail again.
If a suspect is released on bail again more stringent conditions may be put in place.
Source: Read Full Article