When a person is charged with criminal offences in Queensland, the police may grant them bail or remand them in custody. If a person is remanded in custody, they must be brought to court as soon as possible so that they can make a bail application. If the person is an adult, this will happen at the Magistrates Court and if they are a juvenile it will happen at the Children’s Court. If bail is granted, various types of bail conditions may be imposed.
Is there an unacceptable risk that bail conditions cannot mitigate?
Unless a person is facing charges that are punishable by a mandatory life sentence (such as murder), or is in a “show cause” situation, a court can only refuse them bail if it is satisfied that one of the unacceptable risks identified in section 16 of the Bail Act 1980 justifies it.
A key component of the court’s consideration is whether or not these risks can be protected against by the imposition of appropriate bail conditions. A person applying for bail should consider what bail conditions can be proposed to address the concerns the court and the prosecution are likely to have about the defendant’s release. These concerns may relate to the risk of reoffending, the risk of interference with witnesses, any risk posed to the safety of the community or how the defendant’s attendance at court to finalise their charges can be assured.
The bail conditions that are imposed will depend on the circumstances of the defendant and the nature of the charges they are facing. Some of the common bail conditions that courts impose in Queensland are set out below.
A residential condition
This condition requires the defendant to live at a particular address. If the address proposed if the address of someone other than the defendant, such as a partner or parent, that person’s consent will be required.
A reporting condition
A reporting condition can require the defendant to report to the local police station at regular intervals while they are on bail. A person may be required to report weekly, twice weekly or daily.
How often it is reasonable for a person to be required to report to police will depend where the police station is located in relation to where they are living and whether it will impact on their other commitments, such as employment or caring for children.
Not to contact specified persons
A bail condition may be imposed requiring the defendant from refraining from contacting a specified person – for example, the alleged victim or the alleged co-offenders. This condition may be imposed to reduce the likelihood of reoffending or to allay concerns about the defendant interfering with witnesses.
Not to attend certain locations
A bail condition may be imposed that the defendant not attend a particular location such as the site of the alleged offending.
To abide by a curfew
A bail condition may be imposed requiring the defendant to observe a curfew, requiring to be home during certain hours. This condition may also involve the defendant agreeing to police attending at random to ensure the curfew is being obeyed.
To surrender passport
It is also very common for courts to order that a person surrender their passport, or passports, in order to mitigate a risk that they will flee Australia.
While not common in Queensland, there is a power for a court to accept an undertaking from a person (such as a family member or employer) who provides surety for the defendant’s bail. A surety is a person who makes a promise to pay a specified sum of money if the defendant fails to appear at your next court date or if you breach your bail in some other way.
Juveniles and bail conditions
When a juvenile is granted bail, the court may consider it appropriate to impose more onerous bail conditions than it would do for an adult. These may include a condition that the child must attend school every day, abide by a curfew and abstain from alcohol.
If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.