What is Bail?
Essentially, bail – also known as judicial interim release – is the Court-permitted process that allows a person charged with a crime and awaiting trial to be released from custody until the actual trial date.
According to Jaswal & Krueger Criminal Defence Lawyers, there is no cost associated with bail within Canada’s legal system (that is, as long as the accused person is without any negative history regarding previous court appearances). Canadian courts, though, often require what is called a “surety” – basically, another person who puts down a deposit of cash in exchange for the approved release of the accused. Once a surety puts down that money, the accused can then go back to their own home while they await the date of their trial.
Level of a Surety’s Responsibility Regarding Bail
Any surety should be aware that if the accused person breaks even a single condition of their bail, the surety will be in jeopardy of losing the cash that he or she pledged for the pre-trial release of the accused. Whether the surety’s money is lost or not is dependent on the circumstances behind why the accused broke any bail conditions. The ultimate decision regarding what happens with the surety money comes directly from a judge.
The bottom line on the surety’s responsibility regarding bail? Basically, the responsibility of the surety begins with the offering up (or “pledging”) of a specified amount of money so that the accused is not held in prison while awaiting trial.
To help ensure the safety of the surety’s own money, as well as an additional responsibility for the surety, the surety is asked to keep an eye on the accused. This supervisory type of role includes making sure the accused stays on track and does not break any compliance rules set down by the judge. The surety is also asked to make sure the accused shows up in court when the time comes for trial or for any other reasons set down by the judge.
The Bail Hearing Process
When a person is arrested in Canada, and before the decision to allow bail is made, the details of the alleged crime (or crimes) are first presented to a judge.
Sometimes a witness will be asked to testify during the bail hearing process. The witness is typically the law enforcement officer who arrested, or who is involved in the investigation of, the accused.
- During the bail hearing, the lawyer of the accused will be present and will present any admissible evidence on behalf of the accused
- Evidence is brought forward, in most cases, through testimony by a potential surety or by the accused
- Arguments are presented to the judge after testimony to persuade the allowance of bail and release until the trial date
- The lawyer of the accused will attempt to communicate to the judge that if bail is indeed granted, the accused will follow every bail condition
- If released on bail, the accused’s bail conditions will usually remain in place until the conclusion of the case