Bail In Canberra
When a person in Canberra is charged with criminal offences, they may be remanded in custody or granted bail. If bail is not granted by the police, the person must be brought to court as soon as practicable so that they can apply for bail if they want to. Bail in Canberra and surrounds is governed by the Bail Act 1992.
What must courts consider when deciding bail in Canberra?
Section 22 of the bail Act sets out what a court must consider when deciding a bail application by an adult in Canberra or elsewhere in the ACT. The provision states that when deciding whether to grant a person bail, a court or authorised officer must consider:
- the likelihood that the person will appear in court in relation to the offence; and
- the likelihood that while released on bail they will commit an offence, harass or endanger the safety or welfare of anyone or interfere with evidence, intimidate a witness, or otherwise obstruct the course of justice;
- the interests of the person;
- the likelihood of a sentence of imprisonment if they are found guilty.
The court must also consider others relevant matters such as:
- the nature and seriousness of the alleged offence/s;
- the person’s character, background and community ties;
- the likely effect of being remanded on the accused’s family or dependants; or
- any previous grants of bail to the person; or
- the strength of the case against them.
Bail applications by juveniles
The Act provides extra criteria for deciding bail applications by children, with the best interest of the child being a primary consideration. When a child applies for bail in the ACT Children’s Court, the principles set out in the Children and Young People Act 2008 must also be considered.
- that a child or young person may only be detained in custody for a criminal offence as a last resort and for the as little time as necessary;
- that children and young people should be dealt with in the criminal law system in a way that is consistent with their age, maturity and developmental capacity and have at least the same rights and protection before the law as adults do in similar circumstances.
It is a high priority that intervention with young offenders is aimed at their rehabilitation, and balanced with the rights of any victim and the interests of the community.
A court hearing a criminal proceeding in relation to or against a child or young person may order the director general responsible for the Children and Young People Act to provide a report to the court about the child or young person and that report, if ordered, must be considered when deciding bail.
Courts are often more likely to grant bail to a person if the risks associated with granting bail can be guarded against by imposing bail conditions. Successful negotiations about bail conditions can often mean that prosecutors do not oppose bail, which makes bail much more likely to be granted.
It is the task of a person’s lawyer to formulate conditions that address any concerns the court has about granting bail. Bail conditions must be reasonable, proportionate to the alleged offending, appropriate to address the perceived risks and no more onerous than necessary.
Examples of bail conditions that a court can impose are:
- to abide by a curfew;
- to live at a particular address
- not to contact certain people – for example, alleged co-offenders
- to surrender passports
- to report to the police at regular intervals while on bail
- to participate in rehabilitation programs
Breach of bail in Canberra
A person who breaches their bail conditions may be arrested without a warrant. The court may revoke their bail, very their bail conditions, or take no action. It may also impose a penalty for the offence of breach of bail. This may be a fine or a term of imprisonment of up to two years.
If you require legal advice or representation in relation to bail in Canberra or in any other legal matter, please contact Go To Court Legal.