However, when addressing the topic of whether an accused can get bail, we must first look at the typical process of their being brought before the court. There are a number of ways this may happen. The two most common ways are via a ‘notice to appear’ or arrest and processing through a watch-house. The police have discretion as to which manner they elect. This will ordinarily show regard to the circumstances and seriousness of the offence. If the person is arrested and processed through the watch-house the senior officer at the watch-house has the power to grant the person ‘watch-house’ bail. If watch-house bail is not granted then the person must be brought before the court. They will then seek bail from a Magistrate.
The court considers a whole range of factors when deciding whether or not to grant bail to an accused person. These may include the person’s personal circumstances and the nature of the offence. There is also the matter of the strength of the evidence against the person. The court must then decide, amongst other things, whether or not the person is an unacceptable risk of committing further offences. Also, they must consider if this person is likely to fail to appear in court. Or if they will interfere with witnesses.
After balancing all of these factors, the court can either refuse bail or grant bail in a criminal court. They can apply conditions that are designed to ameliorate any risks of further offending or failure to appear. A person can apply to the Supreme Court for bail if they are refused bail before the Magistrates Court.
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