Once making a bail application, it will usually be up to a magistrate or judge to make a decision if you are granted bail or not. Criminal trials can go on for months and even years, so being granted bail can be extremely important to an individual until at least the completion of the criminal trial.
How to Apply for Bail
Generally, bail applications are made to a Court. Depending on what you have been charged with and other factors, the Court which you need to apply to for bail may differ. Most bail applications are heard at the Local Court, District Court or Supreme Court. The court will consider a number of issues in determining whether to grant bail or not. These can include:
- The likelihood of the defendant going overseas. It may be a condition that the defendant needs to hand in their passport.
- The strength of prosecution case.
- The likelihood of a full time imprisonment being imposed if found guilty.
- Previous criminal convictions.
- Any indication that the defendant will fail to turn up to Court at future occasions.
- If there has been a breach of bail in the past.
When being granted bail, the one condition that is usually applicable to anyone on bail is that they need to appear at the necessary court dates. There are often other bail conditions also. These may include the condition that you report to a Police station on certain days, requirement not to contact or associate with certain people or groups of people and/or the requirement to attend a rehabilitation clinic.
A court may order that in granting bail, someone needs to post a sum of money as security. Sometimes the surety does not necessarily need to be money and may just need to be some form of evidence that a party can provide the surety sum if required. Eg. Providing title deeds to a property.
If I am refused bail, can I apply again?
In the past, you could apply for bail as many times as you wished in the same Court, however, an amendment to the Bail Act 1978 was inserted in 2007, section 22A, which restricted the amount of bail applications that could be made to the same Court.
The insertion of section 22A meant that once a bail application was made to a Court, usually the Local Court, another bail application could not be made in that court unless the applicant was not legally represented on the first application or there was a change in facts or circumstances.
Section 22A was amended in November 2009 to allow a further bail application to be entertained by the Court where there a new facts or circumstances to put to the Court, facts or circumstances that may have existed earlier, but were not offered to the Court on the previous bail application.
Unlike the initial section 22A, now, where an application for bail has been refused because the applicant did not provide enough information to his/her lawyer on the first application, the further information can be relied on for a second bail application.
It is imperative to prepare a bail application carefully on the first occasion, as there is sometime a 5 to 6 week wait for bail applications to be heard in the Supreme Court.