Support Village Voice News With a Donation of Your Choice.
This column is intended to address commonly asked questions about the criminal justice process for defendants. We intend to explain the roles of the various persons at each stage in this process beginning with the arrest and questioning stage and concluding with further information and resources. We will also address how long you can be held in custody and other rights and responsibilities you should be aware of. This column in no way replaces your need to personally consult your attorney-at-law or your own readings on the existing law (Prepared by Sparman and Small attorneys-at-law)
Factors that may impact the granting of bail
1. Facts and nature of the case
In this vein, the presiding judicial officer (Magistrate/Judge) may consider the type of matter and what was alleged to have occurred in the matter. An extension of these considerations may be the seriousness of the allegations.
2. Seriousness of the allegations
Based on experience, it is seen that bail is more readily granted for misdemeanors/ minor offences or offences where there is no lost of life or serious harm to a person or public injustice. As such, a judicial officer is less likely to grant bail for a serious offence than he/she would for a minor/ less serious offence.
3. Personal circumstances of the defendant
The judicial officer is more likely to grant a bail application in favour of the defendant if he/she is informed about the personal circumstances of the defendant. The following are some personal circumstances that are likely to be considered: the age of the defendant, the marital status of the defendant, whether the defendant has dependents (children or elderly relatives/disabled relatives to support), the defendant’s employment status or student status, the defendant’s address, defendant’s medical conditions and the defendant’s community ties.
4. Defendant’s antecedents
This is also an extension of the personal circumstances of the defendant. However, this consideration may sometimes have more weight than any other consideration because it directly speaks to the defendant’s ability to comply with any imposed condition of bail. In the legal sense antecedents refers to previous convictions. As such, the defendant’s present ability to comply with the bail conditions is judged by his history of compliance or non-compliance as evidenced by his past convictions or lack thereof.
5. Prosecution’s objections
The prosecution (police prosecutor/state counsel) is always allowed to object to the granting of the bail application. However, the decision remains with the instant judicial officer (Magistrate/Judge) unless appealed. Based on our own observations, the prosecution would likely object to bail if they have concerns that the defendant would abscond or commit other offences whilst on bail or if they have reason to believe that the defendant is likely to interfere with the complainant whilst on bai