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Applying for Bail in the Children’s Court (WA)

Updated on Oct 17, 2022 4 min read 433 views Copy Link

Fernanda Dahlstrom

Published in Oct 17, 2022 Updated on Oct 17, 2022 4 min read 433 views

Applying for Bail in the Children’s Court (WA)

When a person is charged with a criminal offence in Western Australia, they may be remanded in custody or released on bail. Decisions about bail are made under the Bail Act 1982. When a child applies for bail, the court follows a similar process as when an adult applies for bail; however, when the applicant is a child there are some additional factors that the court must consider. This page deals with applying for bail in the Children’s Court in Western Australia.

Age of criminal liability

In WA, the age of criminal liability is 10. A child over 10 can be charged with criminal offences and arrested or summonsed to attend court. They can be remanded in detention or released on bail.

A child between the ages of 10 and 14 cannot be found guilty of an offence unless the prosecution proves that they had the capacity to understand that their conduct was wrong.

If a child is found guilty of an offence, they are sentenced by the Children’s Court, which may impose a range of penalties including fines, good behaviour bonds and terms of detention.

Police bail or court bail?

Bail may be granted by the police or by a court. If the police do not grant bail to an accused person, they must bring the person to court as soon as reasonably practicable so that the person has the opportunity to apply for bail. If the accused is under 18, this will occur in the Children’s Court.

Bail undertaking by a responsible person

Under Schedule 1 Part C Section 2 of the Bail Act, a child may be granted bail if a responsible person such as a parent or guardian who is in a position to influence and support the child, signs a bail undertaking on the child’s behalf.

Bail for 17-year-old

Under the same provision, in the case of a 17-year-old who is mature enough to live independently, the requirement that the bail undertaking be signed by a responsible person does not apply.

When will bail be refused to a child?

The court may refuse to grant bail to a child in any of the following circumstances:

  • Where, if released, the child may fail to appear at court, commit an offence, endanger the safety of person or interfere with witnesses or obstruct the course of justice;
  • Where the child needs to be kept in custody for their own protection;
  •  Where the child’s release could obstruct the proper conduct of the trial
  • Where there is no responsible person to sign the bail undertaking

Supervised bail

In WA, when it is not possible to find a suitable responsible person to sign a young person’s bail, the Supervised Bail program is available. The Supervised Bail program allows a young person to be released on bail under the supervision of the Department of Corrections. Bail coordinators at the Children’s Court and at Rangeview Remand Centre help the young person to ensure they follow their bail conditions.

Bail conditions

When the court grants bail to a young person, it may impose bail conditions to address any concerns it has about releasing them. The conditions imposed must not be any more onerous than necessary to address those concerns (section 17, Bail Act). Some common bail conditions imposed on young person include that they reside at a specified address, attend work or school, do not consume alcohol or abide by a curfew. They may also be required to avoid contact with specified persons, such as alleged co-offenders or victims.

In some cases where there are concerns that the young person may not attend court to answer their bail, the court may require that a surety be paid or promised. This is a sum of money that may be forfeited if the young person breaches their bail.

Breach of bail

A person may be arrested under section 59B of the Bail Act if they fail to comply with the requirements of their bail or fail to appear at court to answer their bail. When a person is brought before the court for breach of bail, the court may revoke bail. The breach of bail will also be recorded on the person’s antecedents and may make it harder for them to get bail in the future.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Go To Court Lawyers.

Published in

Oct 17, 2022

Fernanda Dahlstrom

Content Editor

Fernanda Dahlstrom has a Bachelor of Laws from Latrobe University, a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the College of Law, a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne and a Master of Arts (Writing and Literature) from Deakin University. Fernanda practised law for eight years, working in criminal defence, child protection and domestic violence law in the Northern Territory. She also practised in family law after moving to Brisbane in 2016.
Fernanda Dahlstrom

Fernanda Dahlstrom

Content Editor

Fernanda Dahlstrom has a Bachelor of Laws from Latrobe University, a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the College of Law, a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne and a Master of Arts (Writing and Literature) from Deakin University. Fernanda practised law for eight years, working in criminal defence, child protection and domestic violence law in the Northern Territory. She also practised in family law after moving to Brisbane in 2016.

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