Under current law, a defendant has an absolute right to bail if the custody time limits have expired and otherwise ordinarily a right to bail unless there is sufficient reason not to grant it. Any person accused of committing a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Therefore, a person charged with a crime, should not be denied freedom unless there is a good reason. The main reasons for refusing bail are that the defendant is accused of an imprisonable offense and there are substantial grounds for believing that the defendant would:
- Abscond, or
- Commit further offenses while still on bail, or
- Interfere with witnesses.
The court should take into account:
- The nature and seriousness of the offense or default (and the probable method of dealing with the defendant for it),
- The character, antecedents, associations and community ties of the defendant,
- The defendant’s bail record, and
- The strength of the evidence.
The court may also refuse bail:
- For the defendant’s own protection;
- where the defendant is already serving a custodial sentence for another offense;
- where the court is satisfied that it has not been practicable to obtain sufficient information;
- where the defendant has already absconded in the present proceedings;
- where the defendant has been convicted but the court is awaiting a pre-sentence report, other report or inquiry and it would be impracticable to complete the inquiries or make the report without keeping the defendant in custody;
- where the defendant is charged with a non-imprisonable offense, has already been released on bail for the offense with which he is now accused, and has been arrested for absconding or breaching bail.
Where the accused has previous convictions for certain homicide or sexual offenses, the burden of proof is on the defendant to rebut a presumption against bail.