The Bail Act

The meaning of bail means a suspect/defendant is given liberty- the chance to go back to their ordinary lives, until the next stage of their case. The Bail Act 1976 gives a general right to bail, no matter how serious the offence. the 2003 criminal justice act amended this which restricted rights to adults who tested positive for class a drugs and refuse to be assessed or refused to participate in treatment. In the 1976 bail act if the defendant released on bail doesn't surrender to custody , they are automatically guilty of an offence.

However the magistrates can refuse bail where there are substantial grounds to believe the defendant will: not surrender to bail, commit an offence, interfere with witnesses. when the court is deciding whether of not to grant bail they will consider certain factors such as the nature and seriousness of the offence.

The courts are governed by the provisions found in the bail act 1976 and there is a presumptive right to bail under section 4 and it can only be refused on conditions set out in the act but the underlying doctrine is clear -unnecessary resort to custody is legally wrong as it is morally offensive. However there are three principles which should guide decision makers in their treatment of defendants waiting trial. these are that unconvinced persons should be presumed to be innocent and treated accordingly. the public has a right to be protected against individuals who could pose a threat and justice delayed is justice denied.

Under s. 4 of the bail act 1976 there is a presumption that unconvinced suspects will be given bail this ties in with the fact that everyone is innocent until proven guilty . however the general public have a right to be protected from criminals . This means that the criminal justice system must balance against the freedom of individuals and the protection of the public . At present the policy is leaning towards protection of the public. The defendant therefore has a right to bail unless the court feels the suspect comes under one of the exceptions to the rule There is no right to bail at the police station.

When a magistrate issues a warrant for arrest he may endorse it for bail, ie, give a written direction that the person to be arrested is to be released on bail subject to a duty to appear before a magistrates' court on the date specified and with the amount in which any surety is to be bound. If the police charge a suspect with an offence and are they are not willing to grant them bail they must bring the defendant before the Magistrates' Court at the first possible opportunity.

It is not usually possible for the Magistrates to deal with the case there and then so they must make the decision whether the defendant is granted bail or remanded in custody. It is only in a very small percentage of cases that the police refuse bail. The main statute relating to whether a defendant should be granted bail by the Magistrates' Court is the Bail Act 1976

A police off on patrol have the power under s. 4 criminal justice act 2003 to grant unconditional bail only  this would be assuming that the suspect should report to the police station at a later date specified by the officer. This is often referred to as 'street bail'. However this has not been very effective as suspects have been known to give fake details. The police can attach conditions if this appears to be necessary for ensuring that the defendant surrenders to custody, does not commit an offence while on bail, or does not interfere with witnesses or otherwise obstruct the course of justice (s3 Bail Act 1976, as amended by s27 CJPOA 1994).

where defendant is charged with a serious offence and has a previous conviction for such an offence, bail only granted in exceptional circumstances – Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 (as amended by Crime and Disorder Act 1998) Condition that are imposed by the courts to prevent suspects from not surrendering to court a few examples of these would be asking the suspect to surrender their passport to stop then from running away to another country, to report regularly to the police station to endure that that there trustworthy to be on bail and get another person to stand surety for them.

Where an adult offender has tested positive for certain Class A drugs s19 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 places restrictions on the granting of bail, where the defendant is believe to have taken drugs which was the caused or contributed to the offence and the defendant has refused to agree to an assessment regarding their dependency upon certain class a drugs

A good way courts try to refute defendant from not surrendering to bail is sureties. A surety is a person ho is prepared to pay a significant amount of money to the court if the defendant fails to attend court. A surety cannot have a criminal record and would need to provide proof that necessary funds are available such as bank statements.