Just because the prosecution object to bail being granted does not mean that the court is obligated to refuse bail. A defence team of solicitors will prepare a bail application which anticipates the prosecution’s objections and finds a way to provide assurances and offers bail conditions to offset any concerns the court might have.
What is bail?
Bail is presumed to be something that a defendant is entitled to expect in certain circumstances. The prosecution can only object to a defendant’s request for bail if one or more of the following conditions are a concern. Grounds for refusing bail are:
- concern that the defendant will fail to appear at court to answer his/her bail
- concern that the defendant will commit other offences whilst on bail
- concern that the defendant will interfere with prosecution witnesses
Why might there be an objection to being granted bail
One of the concerns the court might have is whether the defendant can be trusted to answer their bail and appear in court. A court will usually consider the following factors when evaluating whether the defendant is likely to fail to appear in court:
- previous record of not appearing to answer bail
- whether the defendant has ties to the community. Immigrants, who have no ties to the local community, may find it difficult to get bail as judges will be concerned that they’ll return to their native country to avoid conviction; similarly, if a defendant has an international lifestyle then evidence which shows that relocation is impractical would help win bail
- seriousness of the offence and strength of the evidence against the accused – the stronger the case and the greater the likelihood of a long prison sentence, the less likely the accused will turn up to court
- further offences on bail any history of offending while on bail for other offences will make requesting bail difficult
- interference with witnesses if there is any concern that the defendant will try to interfere with prosecution witnesses then bail may not be granted
Conditions the court can impose to allow it to grant bail
The court can impose various bail conditions to ease their concerns about the defendant either skipping bail or interfering with witnesses:
- a curfew and residence requirement, meaning the defendant must be indoors at a set time and live at a designated address far from the alleged victim. The defendant is at a fixed address, so easy for the police to keep tabs on and so less likely to abscond; if far away from where the crime occurred then interference with witnesses is less likely; many crimes occur after dark and outside the home
- reporting requirements allow the police to be aware of the defendant’s activities as they must report to a police station three or more times per week
- surety and security are two important financial assurances granted to the court in a case involving any serious offence. The assurances usually come from the defendant’s family to guarantee their attendance
- non-contact with witnesses is usually required wherever the alleged victim has suffered in an attack or where there are already allegations of witness interference
What makes a good bail application?
In most crown court cases the defendant has one chance to make a bail application. Every piece of background and supporting evidence must be presented to the court. Bail is not an automatic privilege, especially in any serious offence, and bail applications must be prepared with attention and care.
If you think you, or a friend or family member, may have to endure a court case and will require or seek bail, remember AFG LAW can assist you. Please ring 01204 377600 to speak to one of our expert criminal law solicitors who can advise you and attend court.