Bail Pending Trial

Najma Jamaldin, along with lawyers in her law chambers, offer legal services in criminal and regulatory defences and appeals.

How soon after an arrest will the bail hearing take place?

After the arrest, you will appear before a justice of the peace for a bail hearing where the court will decide whether you will remain in custody or be allowed to live in the community before your trial. The law requires that you appear before a justice of the peace within 24 hours of your arrest.

Where does the first bail hearing take place?

Usually, a justice of the peace conducts the first bail hearing except in very serious cases such as murder.

What should I expect at the bail hearing?

At the bail hearing, the Crown will read out a summary of the allegations. You will also present a release plan agreed upon by your proposed sureties. Your proposed sureties will testify to show their commitment and ability to supervise you while in the community.

What is a release plan?

A release plan outlines how the accused will live if released, such as where the accused will live and work. In addition, a release plan usually names the sureties. This release plan is offered to the court.

What is a surety?

A surety is a responsible person who promises to supervise the accused in the community while the accused awaits the trial.

A surety secures the promise to supervise the accused with money. The amount of money required to secure the bail should be reasonable. The fact that the surety may lose the funds promised acts as an incentive to supervise the accused closely.

Does the surety have to deposit money into the court to secure the bail?

Usually, the court does not need a cash deposit to secure bail. Instead, the surety guarantees the bail with a pledge of an amount of money. Instead of depositing money into the court, the surety must show that they have sufficient assets to cover the money promised.

When would the court require a cash deposit?

If the accused does not live in Ontario or the charges are very serious, the surety may have to deposit cash into the court to secure the bail.

What should I expect as conditions of bail?

If the bail court judge releases you, the release will require that you follow terms or rules for your bail.

The strictness of the bail terms will depend on your background and the facts of the case. In some cases, bail will include no or few conditions. However, if you face serious charges, the court will require a good release plan with specific terms crafted to control the accused while in the community.

What are the typical terms or requirements of bail?

Typically, bail may include some of the following bail conditions:
· No contact with the alleged victim
· No contact with co-accused except through a lawyer
· Not to possess any weapons or prohibited drugs
· To live at a specific address
· To live with a surety
· A curfew or house arrest (for serious charges or where the accused has a recent criminal record)

What happens if I lose my bail hearing?

If the accused does not obtain bail at the initial bail hearing, they can ask a higher court to review the decision to deny bail. In a bail review, a Superior Court Judge decides whether the justice of the peace made a mistake in refusing bail or whether circumstances have changed to allow for bail.
In addition, the Crown may seek a bail review to overturn a bail order.