Indictable Offences Committed While On Bail (Vic)
Bail is the release from custody of a person who has been arrested back into the community upon their agreement (on certain conditions) to return to court to respond to the charges laid against them. A person may be granted bail at the police station where they will be required to sign an undertaking of bail or they may be brought to court so that the court can determine whether they should be granted bail or whether bail will be refused. If a person commits an indictable offence while on bail, this is a breach of bail that may lead to the bail being revoked. It is also an offence in its own right that may attract a penalty (in addition to the consequences of breaching bail).
Bail or remand?
In the event that a person is refused bail, then they will be remanded in custody until their next court date. In the event that they are granted bail by the court, they will be released on an undertaking to appear before the court in relation to their charges, and conditions will be imposed. Generally, for more serious offences bail conditions can include the accused surrendering their passport, reporting to a police station, agreeing not to communicate with witnesses or co-accuseds and even complying with a curfew condition.
Breaches of bail
A breach of bail is considered to be a serious offence and if an accused does not obey their bail conditions and come to court when required to do so they can be arrested and charged. Most importantly, the penalties imposed for breach of bail in Victoria are in addition to any penalties that may be imposed for the offences that the accused is on bail for.
One of the more common situations that leads to a breach of bail, is where an accused commits an indictable offence whilst on bail in relation to another matter.
Indictable offences whilst on bail
Section 30B of the Bail Act 1977 makes it an offence to commit an indictable offence whilst on bail. This offence is committed when a person is found guilty of committing an offence that carries more than two years imprisonment whilst on bail for another offence.
In order for a person to be found guilty of this offence, the prosecution must prove beyond all reasonable doubt each legal element of the offence as follows:
- That the accused was subject to a bail agreement; and
- Whilst under that bail agreement you committed an indictable offence.
Penalties for committing an indictable offence whilst on bail
A person found guilty of committing an indictable offence while on bail can be fined up to 30 penalty units or ordered to serve up to three months imprisonment.
Where will my case be heard?
The charge of committing an indictable offence while on bail is usually dealt with in the Magistrates Court. However, in certain circumstances and depending on whether more serious charges are involved, the case may be dealt with in a higher court.
What to do next
When a person is faced with a charge involving committing an indictable offence whilst on bail, they may not be in the state of mind to think clearly and may act on impulse. This may cause further complications defending any allegations made. This is why it is extremely important that you do not speak to police or to the prosecution before seeking legal advice and representation.
If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter please contact Armstrong Legal.