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There are five different categories of bail presumptions

There are five different categories of bail presumptions under the Bail Act 1978. The particular presumption that applies will be determined by the type of offence, and certain circumstances of the accused.

Offences where there is a right to release on bail for minor offences —Section 8 of the Bail Act 1978.  This presumption is for relatively minor offences and those which are not punishable by imprisonment. It includes offences under Summary Offences Act 1988. Offences that fall within this category do not often come before a court, as police officer will usually grant bail.

In any case, there is no right to bail, pursuant to section 51, if the person:

  • fails to appear at court
  • fails to comply with a bail undertaking or bail condition
  • is incapacitated by intoxication, injury or use of a drug, or are otherwise in danger of physical injury or in need of physical protection
  • Is convicted of the offence or the conviction for the offence has been stayed.
  • is in custody serving a sentence in connection with some other offence and are likely to remain in custody for a longer period

Offences where there is presumption in favour of bail — section 9 of the Bail Act 1978

Where there is a presumption in favour of bail, the accused is entitled to bail unless the person has been convicted of the offence or the court is satisfied that the criteria set out in section 32 justify the refusal of bail.

Offences where there is no presumption of bail — sections 9A and 9B of the Bail Act 1978
There is no presumption of bail in certain domestic violence offences and offences of contravening apprehended domestic violence orders. These are exceptions to offenses listed under section 9.

Offences for which there is a presumption against bail — sections 8A to 8F of the Bail Act 1978
There is no presumption in favour of bail in the following cases:

  • Drug offences
  • serious firearms and weapons offences
  • certain repeat property offenders
  • offences committed in the course of riots or other civil disturbances
  • persons on lifetime parole who commit offences carrying prison terms
  •  breach of supervision orders

In these situations the court must rigidly determine bail according to the criteria set out in section 32, without according any presumptions as to granting of bail.

Cases in which bail is to be granted in exceptional circumstances only – sections 9C and 9D of Bail act 1978.

In offences such as murder and serious personal violence offences, the officer or court is not to grant bail to a person (or to a repeat offender in serious personal violence offences) unless there are exceptional circumstances which justify the grant of bail. A repeat offender is a person who has a previous conviction for a serious personal violence offence.

It is important to know when bail presumptions apply because in offences where any of the presumptions apply, the court will accord less weight on the subjective features of the accused and more on the strength of the prosecution case. One could gauge the likelihood of getting bail by knowing the bail category in which the offence is covered.

Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.

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