In Queensland, bail is covered by the Bail Act 1980 and is a written promise to appear in Court on a particular date. If you have been arrested and charged with an offence, bail allows you to go home to wait for your future court appearances, rather than remain in custody. There may be instances where your bail application may be refused in Qld. Here’s what to do if your application has been denied.
Types of Bail
There are three types of bail you can make a bail application for in Qld.
Watch house bail
If a person is arrested and charged with a criminal offence, and they cannot be taken to a court within 24 hours, the Police may grant them watch house bail. Section 7 of the Bail Act 1980 states that the police officer in charge or the watch house manager are authorised to grant bail on the basis that the defendant attend Court on the date stated on the bail undertaking and comply with any other release conditions.
If the police refuse to grant the defendant watch house bail, they can apply to the court for bail. If the Court agrees, the police must release them once they sign the bail undertaking and they must appear in court on agreed date. If this agreed-upon date is rescheduled, the defendant will be required to sign an additional bail agreement.
If a person who has been charged with an offence is assigned multiple court dates, the defendant may want to apply for a ‘bail enlargement’. This means they can remain in the community until the later court date.
Besides a promise to appear in court at a certain date and time, other conditions that may be applied to your bail application in Qld include:
- A requirement to reside at a specific address;
- A requirement to report to a Police station on certain days;
- A requirement to surrender your passport;
- A requirement that you remain in Qld or Australia;
- A curfew condition;
- A requirement to attending a rehabilitation facility or program;
- A prohibition on contacting victims, witnesses or co-offenders; or
- A requirement to pay a cash surety
The Bail Act 1980 governs how the decision is made to grant or refuse a bail application in Qld. Under section 16, the court or a police offer may refuse bail if they are satisfied that there is an ‘unacceptable risk’ that the defendant:
- Would fail to appear or surrender into custody;
- While released on bail –
- Would commit an offence
- Would endanger the safety or welfare of a person who is claimed to be a victim of the offence or anyone else’s safety or welfare; or
- Would interfere with witnesses or otherwise obstruct the course of justice
Bail may also be refused if the court or police believe the defendant should remain in custody for their own protection.
When assessing whether or not there is an ‘unacceptable risk’, the court or police must consider the nature or seriousness of the offence, the defendant’s character, home environment, employment or background, their history of any previous grants of bail, and the strength of evidence against them. The court or police must also consider if the defendant is an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person and any submissions made by a representative of the community justice group in the defendant’s community.
The Supreme Court has the power to grant or refuse a bail application in Qld if the defendant has been charged with an offence for which the penalty is life imprisonment.
Options After a Bail Refusal
If your bail application in Qld has been refused by the Magistrates Court, the defendant may apply to the Supreme Court. Should your bail be refused in the Supreme Court, the defendant may appeal that decision to the Court of Appeal, and that court will hear and determine the application. With regards to any bail application or refusal in Qld, it is best to seek legal advice from an experienced criminal lawyer.
Speak to a Lawyer About Your Bail Application in Qld
Guest Lawyers can provide you with advice and legal representation with regards to bail applications and the necessary steps to take if that application is refused. We offer free initial consultations (including in prisons) to assist with a number of criminal offences. Please get in touch with our lawyers either via Guest Lawyers’ email or by calling (07) 3211 3007.