Justice Process - Bail

If an accused is taken into custody and held for court, the Crown can object to allowing the accused to be released.  In this case, the accused will be brought before a judge within 24 hours or as soon as possible for a bail hearing.

What happens at a bail hearing?

  • The Crown prosecutor will explain to the judge why the accused should stay in jail or why there should be special rules the accused should follow if the accused is allowed to be released
  • The defence counsel may explain to the judge why the accused person should be released
  • The judge will make the decision to release the accused person or keep the accused in jail.

When will the judge keep someone in jail?

  • If the accused is a danger to any victim or witness to the offence
  • If the accused might not show up for court
  • If the release of the accused would result in public doubts over the justice system
  • The judge will also consider the background of the accused including their previous convictions, if the accused person did not obey the court orders in the past, and the type of offence they were arrested for
  • Certain offences require the accused to automatically remain in jail.  In those cases, the accused person will need to have their bail reviewed at the Superior Court of Justice.

What happens if the accused is released?

There may be conditions (special rules) that the accused person must follow.  These conditions are called bail orders and could include:

  • Not having any contact with certain people (this includes letters and phone calls, even through friends)
  • Staying in the province, or staying away from a certain place or area.  This can include shopping malls, the home address, school or place of employment of the complainant
  • Agreeing that they or someone else, will pay a certain amount of money to the court if the accused person does not follow the bail rules
  • If the alleged offence involved violence, a weapon or a criminal harassment the judge must also add a condition prohibiting the accused from possessing a weapon
  • If it is a partner assault the judge will consider if children are involved.  The courts may add conditions such as, where the accused can meet with the children.

What does the victim need to know?

In some cases, it is important for the victim to know what conditions the accused must follow:
  • Victims can get information about the specific conditions that the accused must obey
  • Victims can ask for a copy of the bail conditions from the police or Victim Services
  • If the victim or anyone learns that an accused is breaking any of the orders, the police should be told.

What happens if the accused does not obey the bail conditions?

The court must first consider if the accused is releasable on bail again, if they did not obey the earlier conditions.

The accused may:
  • Be charged with another offence
  • Be arrested and held in custody until the trial
  • Be released on new, more restrictive conditions.