Bail

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Introduction

Governed by the Bail Act 1976

Other acts include:

  • Bail Amendment Act 1993
  • Crime and Disorder Act 1998
  • Criminal Justice Act 2003
  • Coroners and Justice Act 2009

Can be granted by the police, magistrates and the Crown Court.

There is a general presumption in favour of bail and there must be a good reason in order to refuse it.

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Reasons for Refusal and Factors Considered

Reasons for refusing bail:

  • Failure to surrender to custody
  • Likely to commit further offences
  • Interference with witnesses or the course of justice

Factors to be taken into account:

  • The nature and seriousness of the offence
  • The antecedents of the defendant
  • Previous bail record
  • Strength of evidence against the defendant 
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Unconditional and Conditional Bail

Most common type of bail is unconfitional, where the only condition is that the defendant must attend court at the specified time.

Conditional bail is given if there are some risks in giving unconditional bail.

Conditions could include:

- residency conditions (home address or bail hostel)
- curfew and tagging
- surrendering of passport
- reporting at a police station at specified times
- exclusion zones
- contact bans
- sureties

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Restrictions on Granting Bail

  • If an offence is committed whilst already on bail, bail can only be given if there is no significant risk of reoffending
  •  Bail is only awarded in exceptional circumstances for indictable offences if the defendant has already served a sentence for such a crime
  • Bail can only be granted in murder cases by a judge in the Crown Court
  • Bail is restricted for adult class A drug users under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 in certain circumstances
  • The focus has recently changed from ensuring the right to liberty for the defendant to ensuring the public is protected
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Appeals

  • The defendant must appeal to a Magistrate the first opportunity if the police refuse bail
  • Only one further application is allowed if bail is refused unless the circumstances have changed
  • A further appeal may be made against refusal of bail, with this made to a judge in the Crown Court
  • Bail Amendment Act 1993, as amended by CJA 2003, gave the prosecution the right to appeal to a judge at the Crown Court against the granting of bail for any imprisonable offence.
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