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Not intended as legal advice. For educational purposes only.

The Bail System

Bail is considered to be such an integral part of the legal process in Canada that s.11(e) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the right of the accused “not to be denied reasonable bail without just cause.” The Canadian Criminal Code requires anyone who is arrested to be brought before a justice of the peace who will determine whether the accused is to be released before his/her trial. The purpose of bail is to give the accused the opportunity to participate in the development of his/her defence while assuring his/her presence at trial. The Crown may adduce evidence as to why the accused should not be released until trial. A good defence lawyer may strategically assist you to retain your liberty until trial. Don’t risk spending your time in custody awaiting trial.

A surety is an integral part of the release of the accused from jail once charges have been laid. A surety is usually a friend or family member of the accused who signs bail for the accused and pledges to sign an amount of money so that the accused can be released from jail until trial, or resolution of the case. Most of the time, you will not be required to deposit that amount of money, rather just show that the money is available if needed. It is the responsibility of the surety to supervise the accused, and make sure they are present for all court appearances and abide by the conditions of their bail, otherwise the accused may go back to jail, and the surety may face serious consequences, including losing the money they put up. Selecting a proper surety will expedite the process of release from jail pending trial/resolution.

Someone who:

  • Is at least 21 years of age;

  • Is a Canadian Citizen or a Permanent Resident;

  • Can show that they have a sufficient amount of money available for the bail;

  • Is not involved with the charges;

  • Does not have a criminal record;

  • Is employed;

  • Is not an employee of the accused;

  • Can show formal picture ID and proof of residence;

  • Is not currently a surety for someone else.

You may also like to see Bail in Ontario.

The right to Crown Disclosure

Disclosure is the information that the police and other authorities have gathered relating to the charges. It could include documents like police reports, photographs of the scene of the incident, testimony of witnesses, and diagrams. It is the case that the Crown (the state) has against you.

The Crown has a constitutional obligation to provide Disclosure. Disclosure is usually made available to the accused as early in the process as possible to allow the accused to prepare a full and defence. A defence lawyer can review Disclosure with you and identify the strengths and weaknesses of the Crown’s case against you. As such, counsel can assist you to prepare an effective defence after considering constitutional or other issues presented by the Disclosure.

Provincial Offences (Quasi – Criminal)

The Provincial Offences Act R.S.O., is a regulatory quasi-criminal statute that enforces a wide range of offences that fall under different Acts of Parliament, such as the Corporate Tax Act or the Highway Traffic Act. If convicted, provincial offences may result in high fines and/or a term of imprisonment. Some types of Provincial Offences will result in the issuing of tickets, and others may summon you to court to appear for a trial or other resolution of the matter.

Many provincial offences are classified as either strict or absolute liability offences meaning that you may be limited by the defences you may invoke. Effective counsel can assist you in reducing the fines or other penalties you may face.

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