Bail is simply the Court’s permission to allow you to remain in the community (rather than in custody) whilst your matter is being finalised. The general position in Queensland is that everyone charged with a criminal offence should be granted bail unless they are considered an unacceptable risk.
If you were charged by way of a Notice to Appear, the question of your bail will be dealt with at the first mention of your matter. On this occasion, bail is usually granted without difficulty and on your own undertaking, although the Court can place conditions on a person’s bail (such as that they surrender their passport, report regularly to the police, have no contact with a particular person etc.). You will be required to acknowledge and sign your own bail undertaking after Court.
A breach of any condition of your bail, including the requirement to turn up to Court as and when required, can result in your bail being revoked, and you being remanded in custody until your matter is concluded, which could be a lengthy period. If you were to breach your bail then the Police could also charge you with additional criminal offences.
In determining whether you should be granted bail, the Court must consider section 16 of the Bail Act.
Section 16 of the Bail Act (Qld) states;
(1) Notwithstanding this Act, a court or police officer authorised by this Act to grant bail shall refuse to grant bail to a defendant if the court or police officer is satisfied—
(a) that there is an unacceptable risk that the defendant if released on bail—
(i) would fail to appear and surrender into custody; or
(ii) would while released on bail—
(A) commit an offence; or
(B) endanger the safety or welfare of a person who is claimed to be a victim of the offence with which the defendant is charged or anyone else’s safety or welfare; or
(C) interfere with witnesses or otherwise obstruct the course of justice, whether for the defendant or anyone else; or
(b) that the defendant should remain in custody for the defendant’s own protection.
There are two different types of bail: watch house bail and court bail. Watch house bail may be granted to you by the police when you are arrested. Once you sign the bail undertaking the police will release you, and you bound to attend your next court date. If you do not, a warrant may be issued for your arrest.
A person can be granted court bail when they were refused watch house bail. In that situation, the person’s legal representation will make detailed submissions in court as to why that person should be released into the community while their matters are being dealt with by the courts. The person will need to prove that they are not an unacceptable risk to the community in the sense that they are not at a high risk of re-offending and are not at a high risk of fleeing the state or country.
Bail undertakings often have conditions such as;
- Residential conditions;
- Not to communicate or approach victims or witnesses;
- Not to approach certain locations (such as the crime scene);
- Surrender Passports;
- Not to approach international points of departure (airports or seaports);
- Surrender Passports
- Reporting to the police;
- Comply with Domestic Violence Orders;
- Undertake Rehabilitation Courses.
If you do not comply with your bail conditions then you may be charged with a breach of bail offence. Such offences arise where a person who is on bail fails to appear at court or is charged with an indictable offence while being on bail for another offence. In this instance, a warrant will be issued for your arrest and you will be formally charged.
There are certain defences to a breach of bail, such as an emergency prevented the accused from reporting to the police station on time.
If the conditions of your bail are unsuitable to your employment, you may apply to the court to vary your bail. This involves providing the court with reasons as to why you are unable to comply with the current conditions of your bail, and proposing reasonable changes to be made.
You are only able to make one application to the court unless there is a change of circumstances. If your bail is refused then you can make an application to the Supreme Court of Queensland for bail.
Call an Expert
If you are charged with a criminal offence, it is very important that you seek immediate legal advice. Our team at Brooke Winter Solicitors can give you over the phone advice. We have a solid reputation as expert Criminal Lawyers and can represent you in court. Call us on 1300 066 669 if you have any questions. We can assist you no matter where you are located and can appear in every court.