Following a person’s arrest
It is up to the Centenier who has made the arrest to decide whether the person who has been arrested is to be:
- released on a warning to appear at the hearing of their case
- should be remanded in custody until the case is heard or
- can be released “on bail” until the case is heard. This is known as “Police Bail”.
Amount of Bail
The amount of the bail that is asked for (‘set’) depends on:
- the type of offence that has been committed and
- the past history and present circumstances of the arrested person (what the person has done in the past and what they do now.
When bail is granted, conditions or terms can apply. Conditions of bail sometimes include:
- surrendering (handing over) the arrested person’s passport to the authorities
- the setting of a curfew ( or time by which a person must be at home)
- requirements for (or rules about) reporting to a Police Station at regular intervals and
- non-interference with (or keeping away from) other people, particularly witnesses.
There is no appeal procedure against conditions made on the setting of bail. However, the lawyer acting for the arrested person ( if she/he has one) can make an application (or ‘representation’) to the Court the first time his/her case is heard case giving reasons why bail should be set.
If the Centenier presenting (or bringing) the case opposes the application the Magistrate must make a decision about whether a bail order should have been made at all.
Failure to appear
A person who has been granted (given) bail and who fails to appear when required to do so and without giving any warning or reason to the Court, is likely to have their bail money permanently kept by the Court and their arrest will be ordered.
In certain circumstances, the Court may return bail money to anyone who has ‘put up bail’ if the arrested person fails to appear.
Bail Notes for prisoners on Remand
These notes are provided to help if you:
- Are on remand
- Have been committed (or sent) for trial or sentence (including being committed in respect of a breach of a Probation Order or of a conditional discharge)
- You have been sent to prison, either on a Jurats’ Warrant or by the Magistrate, until you are due to appear before the Magistrate’s Court or the Royal Court.
These notes explain how you can ask for bail and, if granted, what you and your relatives and friends must do to get you released.
How to ask for Bail
If your next appearance is before the Magistrate’s Court:
- Each time you appear before the Magistrates Court, you can ask for bail or you can ask your Advocate (if you have one) to ask for you. If the Court decides not to give you bail you will be told the reason why.
- If the Magistrates have refused bail your Advocate can still apply on your behalf to the Royal Court or in writing to the Crown Officers.
If you have been sent for trial at the Royal Court:
- You can ask your Advocate to apply to the Royal Court for bail.
- if you do not have enough money to employ your own Advocate and you have not been given legal aid, you can make your own application for bail to the Crown Officers in Morier House, St Helier.
- if you have been refused bail either by the Magistrates or by the Royal Court you can apply again later if you believe you have new grounds or information about your case which might make them change their mind.
If your case has been heard and you appear before the Royal Court for sentencing the Magistrate cannot grant you bail, but you can ask the Royal Court for bail instead (as if you were waiting for your case to be heard for the first time.)
- If you are in prison the Prison Governor will allow you a special letter to write to the Court or to your Advocate.
- Always give all the reasons why you think you should be allowed bail.
- You can apply more than once to the same Court but it is not much use doing so if you have already been refused bail unless you can give some new reasons why you should be allowed it.
If you want to apply for legal aid while you are in prison ask to see the Unit Manager who is in charge of your wing.
Conditions of Bail
- If you are allowed bail, you have a duty to appear in Court the next time you are required to do so. If you fail to appear without a good reason, you will be arrested.
- You may also have to obey certain conditions, such as going every day to the Police Station. If you break these conditions, you may be arrested and kept in prison (in custody) until your case is heard.
- In addition, if you find one or more relatives or friends who are willing to pay a sum of money for your bail you and you fail to appear before the Court when required to do so, the relatives or friends who have paid some or all of the money will lose it.
Bail money must be paid in sterling cash, no cheques. It can be paid in Court at the time bail is granted or at the Viscount’s department, St Helier during normal working hours or at the Prison before 21.00 hours.
Change in Bail conditions
You may think the conditions of bail are too strict or you may not be able to find any relative or friends who are able to put up the bail money for you. You can ask the Court which granted you bail to alter the conditions.