Bail is where the police can release a defendant pending charge, pending trial or pending sentence. The police can release a suspect on bail while they make further inquiries. This means that the suspect is released from custody on condition that they return to the police station on a specified date in the future. The police can also give bail to a suspect who has been charged with an offence. In this situation the defendant is given bail on condition that they appear at the Magistrates' Court on a specified date. There is a general presumption under S4 of the Bail Act 1976 that everyone is innocent until proven guilty, this is referred to as a adversarial law system.
S4 of the Bail Act 1976 contains a presumption that bail will be granted. But this is only before conviction as after the conviction courts will have discretion to grant bail. However, this is rebutted as S4 BA 1976 states that bail need not be granted if there are substantial grounds for believing that the suspect would; fail to surrender custody, commit another offence or interfere with witnesses or otherwise obstruct the course of justice. When deciding bail, magistrates will also consider a number of other factors; seriousness of offence, character of the suspect, community ties of the suspect, suspects previous conditions, strength of evidence or relevant drug misuse.
Police bail is where at the police station the subject is under the control of the custody officer, who is responsible for the welfare of the subject and making the decision as to whether they should be detained or not. If the subjects rights are breached then the case will be chucked out as soon as it reaches court. Under S37 and S38 of PACE bail can be granted after arrest in order to make further enquiries, or after charge while the police continue to prepare their case. But, bail can be refused if; the suspects name and address cannot be discovered, there is some doubt as to whether the details they supplied are correct, that there is a doubt the suspect might fail to surrender to bail. These conditions are imposed in order to; make sure the suspect surrenders to bail, does not commit an offence whilst on bail, does not interfere with witnesses and does not interfere in any other way with the course of justice. When granting bail the police can impose conditions to make sure the suspect surrenders to bail and doesn't interfere with witnesses, these conditions include; surrendering their passport, remaining at a certain address, attending the police station at regular intervals, a surety, a curfew or a restriction from a certain area.
Court bail is where if the police refuse bail the suspect must be bought before the Magistrates' Court at the earliest opportunity. The MAGs will then decide whether bail is granted and must produce a certificate of refusal if they do not grant bail. The suspect has 2 opportunities to ask the MAGs for bail but under S81 Superior Courts Act 1981 is allowed to appeal to the Crown Court if bail is refused. Significant changes to the power of the MAGs to grant bail in murder cases have been introduced under S115 Coroners and Justice Act 2009. MAGs no longer have jurisdiction to hear an application for bail. It is dealt with by the Crown Court as soon as practically possible, but as most within 48 hours after the suspect first appeared before the MAGs.
There are restrictions on bail, these are; repeat serious offences, offences