Have you had questions about Bail? To bail an accused out is to seek for his or her temporary release whilst waiting for trial. Bail is affected when a sum of money is deposited by one or more persons (known as surety or bailor) to the Court. This is to ensure the accused’s attendance in court. Bail can be a tricky matter so here are 10 things you need to know about bail in Singapore.
- Is Bail applicable for all offences?
Whether bail is allowed depends on whether the offence is bailable or non-bailable.
Bailable offence allow the accused to be released on bail. Any person accused of a bailable offence who is arrested or detained without a warrant by a police officer, appears or is brought before a court and is prepared to give bail at any time (while in custody or any stage of the court proceedings) must be allowed bail.
However, it is worth noting that the court may refuse bail if the accused has allegedly committed an offence that is punishable not only by fine and the court has grounds to believe that the accused will not surrender to custody, be available for investigations and attend subsequent courts after being released on bail.
Non-bailable offence are usually offences that are more severe in nature. In the premise, an accused will be refused bail if he is charged with an offence punishable with death or life imprisonment. Regardless, the court still has the discretion to decide if bail should be granted.
- How much does Bail cost?
The amount or quantum of bail will be fixed, having taken into regard the circumstances of the case, as being sufficient to ensure the accused’s attendance in court. However, the accused can apply to the High Court to change the bail amount.
- Must Bail be in cash form?
Bail can be monetary or non-monetary. When the bail amount exceeds $15,000 SGD, bail will usually be in the form of monetary bail. In such cases, only cash or cash equivalents such as fixed deposits will be accepted as security for bail. Non-monetary bail usually happens in cases where the bail quantum is equal or less than $15,000. In such cases, bailors will have to pledge their personal property.
- Are there any conditions for bail?
The law provides for mandatory conditions which the accused has to adhere to when granted bail:
- Surrender his passport;
- Surrender to custody, be available for investigations or to attend court;
- Not to commit any offence whilst on bail; and
- Not to interfere with witness or otherwise obstruct the course of justice whether in relation to himself or any other person.
If the accused needs to travel overseas, an application can be made to apply for the return of his passport. During the application, the accused has to provide reasons for his application and the bailor has to consent to the travel. That said, the final approval to the application lies with the court.
Bail decision is not appealable. However, the accused can apply to High Court to vary the conditions.
- What if I failed to follow the conditions of bail?
The accused may be arrested without a warrant. In addition, the court may unlikely grant him bail in future. That said, it is still subject to the accused’s reason or reasons for failing to follow the conditions of bail.
- What is a surety and what are the conditions to be a surety?
The accused must have a surety (also known as a bailor) to execute the bail. To be a surety, the following conditions must be met:
- Singapore citizen or Permanent Resident;
- At least 21 years old;
- Not a bankrupt;
- No pending court proceedings against him; and
- Mentally sound
- What does a surety need to do?
Before one agrees to be a surety for an accused, he must be aware of the following responsibilities:
- Ensure that the accused surrenders to custody, or makes himself available for investigations or attends court;
- Keep in daily communication with the accused and lodge a police report within 24 hours of losing contact; and
- Ensure that the accused is within Singapore unless permitted to leave the country.
The failure of the surety to comply with his duties will result in forfeiture of the bail amount. The surety will have to explain and show sufficient cause why the amount should not be forfeited.
- Can a surety discharge himself?
A surety may at any time apply to court to discharge himself. When that happens, the accused has to find another surety, or he will be remanded.
- What is the procedure to execute a bail?
The surety has to put up the bail amount at the Bail Centre (Crime Registry, Level 1, State Courts).
- Can my bail be revoked?
The court has the power to revoke bail at any subsequent stage of any proceeding. Following which, the accused will be arrested and remanded.
Consult a criminal lawyer
If you still have uncertainties and questions about bail, do consider consulting our criminal lawyers. We are happy to advise you accordingly. Contact us here.