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This article was written by Sally Crosswell

Sally Crosswell has a Bachelor of Laws (Hons), a Bachelor of Communication and a Master of International and Community Development. She also completed a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice at the College of Law. A former journalist, Sally has a keen interest in human rights law.

Breach Of Bail (Qld)


If a person is charged and released on bail, they must sign an “undertaking of bail”. By this undertaking the person agrees to attend court as directed and abide by bail  conditions. A breach of bail is considered a serious offence in Queensland, by police and the courts. If a person does not comply with their bail conditions, they can be arrested without a warrant and charged. Bail in Queensland is governed by the Bail Act 1980.

Bail breaches

Section 29 of the Act states a person on bail must not break any condition of their bail. The maximum penalty is 40 penalty units ($5338) or imprisonment for 2 years.

Bail conditions are imposed to reduce the likelihood that the person on bail will:

  • fail to appear in court or surrender into custody as required;
  • commit an offence;
  • endanger the safety or welfare of others;
  • interfere with a witness or otherwise obstruct the course of justice.

Such conditions may:

  • prohibit the person from entering, or staying in a licensed premises or an area near those premises;
  • prohibit the person from attending or remaining at a stated event where alcohol is served;
  • prohibit the person from contacting specific people or groups;
  • require the person to surrender a passport or prohibit them from applying for one;
  • require the person to undergo a physical or mental health assessment;
  • require the person to take part in a rehabilitation, treatment or other intervention program;
  • require the person to complete a Drug and Alcohol Assessment Referral course;
  • require the person to wear a tracking device;
  • require the person to live at a particular address;
  • require the person to abide by a curfew.

Section 29 does not apply to a person aged under 18, or to conditions that relate to a Drug and Alcohol Assessment Referral or a tracking device.

Procedure for suspected bail breach

Under section 28 of the Act, if a court reasonably believes a person has broken or is likely to break a bail condition, it can issue a warrant for that person’s arrest.

When the person appears in court, the court has several options. It can:

  • revoke bail, remand the person in custody, and direct that the person be brought before the court at a specific time;
  • release the person on their original undertaking, or vary it.

Sureties

A surety refers to a person who pledges to pay a specified amount if a person on bail does not comply with bail conditions. The surety’s undertaking is backed by a security, usually money or a house, which is forfeited in the event of a breach. The term surety can also refer to the specified amount undertaken to pay.

A surety must:

  • be aged 18;
  • not have been convicted of an indictable offence;
  • not be under any disability in law;
  • not be an insolvent under administration;
  • not be, or likely to be, charged;
  • not be worth less than the amount of bail.

In considering whether a proposed surety is suitable, a bail decision maker may consider the surety’s financial resources; their character and background; and their proximity (in kinship or geography) to the person on bail. The bail decision maker can decide to refuse surety from a person if they believe accepting surety would be ruinous or injurious to the person or the person’s family.

The bail decision-maker can require the surety to lodge in cash the amount of bail, or file an affidavit of ownership of property to the amount of the bail.

A surety can apply to a court to end their obligation as a surety for a person on bail, but only before a bail condition has been breached or the person on bail has been arrested. A surety has a right to apprehend a person on bail, with or without help from police, and bring the person before the court for this reason. If a surety is released from their obligation, the court can imprison the person on bail until that person provides another surety or security.

If a surety dies, their estate is not liable to pay the amount of bail, and the person on bail may be required to find another surety.

For advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

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