BAIL IN QUEENSLAND
Everyone in Queensland who is charged with a criminal offence is generally required to be placed on bail. Bail allows a person to remain in the community (rather than being remanded in custody e.g. at a prison or watch-house).
When a person is granted bail they are required to sign a Bail Undertaking at Court. CLICK HERE to see an example of a bail undertaking.
The majority of persons who are charged with a criminal offence are granted bail. However, the Court can place conditions on a person’s bail. Conditions can include: –
- Residential condition- an address where the person must reside while they are on bail.
- Reporting condition- the person must report to a police station on certain days of the week and during specific times.
- Curfew- the person must not be absent from their home during specific times of the day/night (e.g. between 9:00pm and 6:00am the following day).
- No-contact- the person must not contact a particular person (e.g. a co-offender, a complainant or a witness in the matter).
- Not leaving the State of Queensland.
- Passport surrender- the person surrendering their passport and not applying for a new one.
- Alcohol- a condition that the person must not consume alcohol and/or be subject to random breath testing. Such a condition may include a person being required to attend Queensland Health’s Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Service (ATODS).
- Drugs- the person must not consume or possess drugs. Such a condition may include a person being subject to random drug testing or a requirement that they attend Queensland Health’s Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Service (ATODS).
- Rehabilitation- a condition that the person attend a certain rehabilitation clinic/centre.
- Not to approach an airport.
What factors does the Court consider in determining whether or not to grant a person bail?
Whether or not a person should be granted bail is governed by the Bail Act 1980 (Qld), which provides for when a Court, or a police officer should refuse bail (See Section 16).
Essentially, in determining if a defendant should be granted bail, the Court will consider:
(1) Is there an unacceptable risk that the defendant:
(a) would fail to appear and surrender into custody; or
(b) would while released on bail:
(i) commit an offence; or
(ii) endanger the safety or welfare of a person who is claimed to be a victim
of the offence with which the defendant is charged or anyone else’s
safety or welfare; or
(iii) interfere with witnesses or otherwise obstruct the course of justice,
whether for the defendant or anyone else.
(2) if the defendant should remain in custody for their own protection.
What does the Court/police officer have to consider in determining if there is an unacceptable risk?
The Act provides that in determining if there is an unacceptable risk the Court or police officer shall have regard to all matters appearing to be relevant, including the following:
(a) the nature and seriousness of the offence;
(b) the character, antecedents, associations, home environment, employment
and background of the defendant;
(c) the history of any previous grants of bail to the defendant;
(d) the strength of the evidence against the defendant;
(e) if the defendant is an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person—any submissions
made by a representative of the community justice group in the defendant’s
community, including, for example, about: –
(i) the defendant’s relationship to the defendant’s community; or
(ii) any cultural considerations; or
(iii) any considerations relating to programs and services in which the community
justice group participates.
The Bail Act provides that certain defendants must be remanded in custody unless they can “show cause” (demonstrate to the Court why their detention in custody is not justified).
The following defendants are deemed by the Bail Act to be in a “show cause” situation:
(a) they have been charged with an indictable offence and it is alleged they committed the offence while they were at large with or without bail, between the date of the defendant’s arrest and the date of the defendant’s committal for trial, or while awaiting trial for another indictable offence; or
(b) If they have been charged with murder.
(c) If they have been charged with an indictable offence and it is alleged that during the offence they used or threatened to use a firearm, offensive weapon or explosive substance.
(d) If they have been charged with an offence against the Bail Act.
(e) If they have been charged with an offence against sections 24 or 38 of the Criminal Organisation Act 2009.
(f) If they have been charged with the offence of threats under section 359 of the Criminal Code and it is alleged the threat was made to a law enforcement officer (police officer) or a person assisting a law enforcement officer when or because they are investigating a criminal organization.
(g) If it is alleged the defendant is, or has at any time been, a participant in a criminal organization.
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