Preparing A Bail Application
A competent and prepared criminal lawyer will want to be informed of all relevant matters before appearing at court and making an application for bail for a client. Presenting an ill-prepared or rushed application to the court may result in the refusal of the application. If bail is refused the applicant will either have to present new facts and circumstances to the Magistrate who heard the initial bail application or may need to make a bail application before a judge in the Supreme Court. So it is important to get things right the first time around.
So it’s important to take the time to consider what information and supporting document will be needed when instructing a criminal lawyer to make a bail application. The earlier the information and relevant documentation are provided to the lawyer, the quicker the bail application can be presented to the court.
This article provides an overview of what information and documentation are required by a criminal lawyer to assist in presenting a well-prepared bail application to the court in a timely manner.
The Documentation Relating to the Charges
When an accused person is charged they are provided with copies of the Statement of Material Facts, Prosecution Notices and their prior court history or offending record. These documents are the first matters to be considered by the criminal lawyer before an application for bail is made. The seriousness of the allegations may have an impact on the court’s decision whether to grant bail. The prior convictions of the accused will also be considered in determining whether there is an unacceptable risk of the accused reoffending while on bail or a risk that the accused may fail to appear at court on future court dates.
It’s useful to have the name and contact details of the charging or investigating police officer and their WA Police number. The details of the investigating officer can then be forwarded to the lawyer and enable the lawyer to contact the police officer to request the aforementioned documentation.
The lawyer will also want to know whether the client was on bail for a previous charge at the time of the arrest and incarceration and, if so, the details of that previous charge/s. If the client was already on bail before their arrest this can add complexity to the bail application and in particular the test to be applied by the court in determining whether to refuse the bail application.
Matters Personal to The Accused
The criminal lawyer will also want to be informed of the circumstances personal to the client and in particular the following:
- The contact details for their family.
- Their marital status and whether they have children or dependents.
- Their upbringing, education, family background, and ties to the community.
- Where they are from and their ties to the community.
- Where they will reside in the event that bail is granted and with whom will they be residing. The proximity of the complainant in the alleged offence may make it problematic for the accused to go back and resume their previous place of residence.
- If the client is proposing stay at a residential drug rehabilitation facility the lawyer will require evidence that the client has been accepted into that facility.
- The nearest police station to where they will reside and where they will have the capacity to attend and report?
- Their current employment status and days and hours of employment.
- Whether the employer is aware of their incarceration and whether the employer is prepared to maintain their employment if they are released. If so whether the employer will confirm this in writing.
- Whether they suffer from any medical conditions (either physical or psychological) and whether they are dependent on any medication.
- Whether they have illicit substance abuse issues that are required to be addressed and may impact upon their time in custody.
- Whether they have any language difficulties that might make communication difficult.
- Whether they have a passport and, if so, whether the passport is it accessible for it to be forfeited to the court if required.
Providing a Surety to the Court
The ability to have a person who can act as a surety to a grant of bail will strengthen an application for a grant of bail. A surety is a third person who undertakes to forfeit a sum of money (the amount set by the court) in the event that the accused’s fails to attend the court on future court dates.
The rationale behind the court imposing a surety condition is to ensure that there is a third person who has a financial interest in ensuring that the accused complies with the bail conditions and attends court on each scheduled court date. It also places an incentive on the surety to withdraw as the surety if they become aware or are concerned that the accused is likely to breach the conditions of their bail. A surety also places a further personal incentive on the accused person to do the right thing because they know that a breach of the bail conditions will result in the surety (who is often a close relative or friend) forfeiting money.
Applying for Bail? I Can Help
As a senior criminal law practitioner, I have made literally hundreds of bail applications to the courts over the course of my career. The ingredients to success is preparation. That means being acquainted with all relevant matters, as well as having access to evidentiary documentation that will support the application.
If you or one of your loved ones want to make an application for bail to the court contact me at the Law Office of Andrew Williams on 08 9278 2575 for straight forward, no-nonsense advice.