Bail Variations in Domestic Assault & Other Criminal Charges
After being criminally charged in Canada, the accused can either be released by the police or brought to court for a bail hearing. Release orders will have conditions that the accused must obey. A failure to obey any of the conditions can result in the accused being arrested and brought back to court. These terms and conditions are meant to ensure that the accused appears in court, does not commit any further crimes while on release, and does not interfere with the administration of justice.
This article will go through bail variations and the meanings of different terms.
What Is Bail Variation?
There are different bail conditions for every case, and they can vary depending on the charges. A variation of bail is when the court changes the conditions of an accused’s release. People must be aware that these bail conditions are meant to be intrusive and restrictive in their daily lives. A lawyer can help you vary your bail conditions if you find them to be too restrictive.
The easiest and the most cost-efficient method will involve seeking consent from the Crown. The prosecutor may agree to the variation or may not. If the prosecutor does not agree, then a bail review will be required.
A bail review can happen if someone was denied bail, or if their bail variation request has been denied. The steps are lengthy because they include the lawyer requesting transcripts, drafting an application, and then scheduling a hearing in front of a judge.
A legal basis is required for the bail review, which can either be an error in law or a material change in circumstances. The onus is on the accused to show that one of these two things has occurred.
Typical Bail Conditions
The most common bail conditions have to do with contact. This is especially true when it comes to cases that involve another person and an assault charge. Also, the accuser’s movements could be limited depending on their bail condition. Some of the most common bail conditions are:
- Follow a curfew
- No communication or indirect communication with the victim or co-accused
- Keep a certain distance away from the victim and their workplace, home, or education
- Do not have any weapons
- Follow the routine and discipline of the home
- Surrender passport
What Does Indirect Communication Mean?
Having indirect communication means conveying a message through a third party. An example would be asking someone else to relay a message to the person that should not be contacted by the accused. However, another popular means of indirect communication is posting messages and information on social media in a post for the person to see.
Does No-Communication Mean No Communication at All?
Yes; if there is a no-communication condition, there cannot be any communication. However, there can be exceptions to this condition, but they need to be approved and set out by the judge during the hearing. Typically, the exceptions are for contact through legal counsel for purposes of arranging the defence. Otherwise, there are no exceptions to the condition, and the accused will need to follow it.
How Can Someone Change a No-Communication Condition?
There are two ways for someone to change a no-communication condition:
- Consent Variation: This is when the prosecutor agrees to change the condition of release of the accused. The only way for this to happen is for negotiations between the defence and the Crown.
- Contested Proceeding: A contested bail review can only happen in court, but this is complicated because there is an application and litigation. It is highly recommended that a lawyer is involved in this process.
What Happens If the Person Contacts the Accused?
Many people are misguided and are told that if the person contacts the accused, they are allowed to answer, but they are not. There is no exception for the contact between the parties unless there is an exception to the bail conditions.
The accused needs to understand that all conditions regarding their bail are legal obligations. Also, the person named in the condition cannot change these conditions because it needs to be done through the court.
Will They Know if You are Out Past Curfew?
Do not be fooled by the idea of a curfew condition when out on bail because there are curfew checks. When bail is granted, the conditions will be monitored by the police themselves. If the accused is given a curfew, they need to be in the appointed residence by a specific time and cannot leave.
Police do come and complete random curfew checks to make sure that the accused is at the address provided and approved by the court. If the accused is not at their residence when a review is done, they would have breached their bail condition.
Stay Away from the Victim or Co-Accused
It may seem obvious, but it is good practice to avoid the victim or the co-accused during a criminal case. However, if this is written as a bail condition, the accused must follow this rule. The last thing they want is for the victim to say that they saw the accused at their place of work when they shouldn’t be there.
If the Accused Violated Their Bail Condition, Then What Happens?
First off, the person should never violate their bail condition, but if they do, then there could be some severe consequences. The person could be charged with breaching their release, which would lead to another criminal offence. When this happens, the police have every right to detain the accused at the police station until the next bail hearing.
Bail hearings usually happen within 24 hours, but if the court does not grant bail, the accused will be kept in custody until their trial.
Bail variations and reviews can be tricky and challenging to understand. Many people hire professionals to complete these steps because they want to make sure that it is done the first time correctly. Otherwise, it could be detrimental to the accused and their case.