What is a Bail Hearing?
A bail hearing is a legal proceeding wherein a Judge or Justice of the Peace determines whether or not an accused person should be kept in jail or be released back into the community while the criminal case in ongoing in Court.
If an accused person has not been released following arrest, they have the legal right to be brought to Court for a bail hearing within twenty-four (24) hours of their arrest, or as soon as is possible.
During the bail hearing, the accused has the opportunity to provide reasons to the Court for why they believe they should be released. A Judge or Justice of the Peace will then decide to release the accused on bail or keep them in jail to wait for the next Court date. If the accused is released, there will be conditions attached to that release, and it is very important that they are followed as they are written. Any breach of any condition could lead to the accused being arrested and returned to jail, and with a likelihood of additional charges for the breach.
Preparing for the Bail Plan
Here is a list of things that the Crown Attorney will review when considering whether to release the accused:
- Where the accused will be residing;
- Who will supervise the accused;
- What release conditions will be reasonable (i.e., a curfew, work, or schooling to be considered);
- Information about the accused's employment;
- Whether there are drug or alcohol concerns; and;
- Whether Court attendances might be missed.
If an Accused is Detained
Detention can only be deemed necessary on three (3) grounds:
- The accused may not attend Court when required;
- The accused may commit another crime or the public may not be safe while out on bail; and,
- The public may lose confidence in the justice system if the accused is released.
It is important to prepare properly for a bail hearing because if the Judge or Justice of the Peace determines that an accused should be detained, it is not possible for a second bail hearing to be held.