Bail - Crown & Magistrates Courts
Some offenders are sent to custody to await sentence. Others are remanded on bail, allowing them to live in the community before sentence is passed. Probation staff in court can advise magistrates and judges on suitable arrangements for bail support, bail accommodation or both. When arranging bail, risks are carefully managed and and there may be close liaison with prisons.
If released on bail, the defendant is given a bail sheet confirming where and when to attend court. It is important that they attend court as required, and arrive on time, or they may loose bail.
Bail can be granted by the courts or the police. Where bail is granted, the person released from custody until the next date when they attend court or the police station. If bail is refused, this will be because the police or the court believes that, if released on bail the person will abscond (not turn up to court), commit an offence, interfere with witnesses or otherwise interfere with the criminal justice process.
There are two types of bail:
The police and courts can impose any requirements which are necessary to make sure that defendants attend court and do not commit offences or interfere with witnesses whilst on bail. Conditions can also be imposed for the defendant's own protection or welfare (where he is a child or young person). Common conditions include not going within a certain distance of a witness's house, or being subject to a curfew. If a defendant is reported or believed to have breached (gone against) a bail condition, they can be arrested and brought before a magistrates' court which may then place the person in custody.
If the police or court think that the defendant is unlikely to commit further offences, will attend court when required and will not interfere with the justice process, they will usually be released on unconditional bail.
Breach of bail
If a defendant does not stick to their bail conditions, or fails to attend court on the set date, they are in breach of bail. They are likely to be arrested and may have their bail withdrawn. They may be remanded in custody and might not get bail in the future. Failing to appear at court as required is a criminal offence and they can also be prosecuted for this offence.