Upon arrest, an accused person is immediately transported to the police station for detainment and depending on the severity of their crime they can be afforded police bail at the police station. However if their crime is deemed to be too serious, they will be detained and brought before the courts within a 48-period – and only during this court appearance will they be able to apply for formal bail which may only be granted by the courts. Always remember no one may be detained without a trial.
In order to qualify for formal bail in all courts, the application should meet the criteria set forth by the Criminal Procedure Act, although bail must always be granted in the interest of justice as set forth in section 35(1)(f) of the Constitution. However, conditions may apply to this release such as restriction of movement or possible house arrest. Clearly, this is a very subjective process in some cases, and very objective as the rule of law sets forth.
The defendant should assure the courts of the following when filing an application for formal bail:
- That they will not flee and will be present for their court dates
- Are not a danger to others
- Will not intimidate witnesses
- And will not commit any other crimes
However, it should be noted that for schedule 6 offences as set out in the Criminal Procedure Act, the accused has to prove that there are exceptional circumstances that should allow for bail – such as the strength of the prosecution’s case.
It is clear formal bail applications in all courts can be tricky processes depending on the charges levied against the accused and it is always best to have legal advice on hand to help with such applications. If you require assistance or advice regarding formal bail applications, do not hesitate to contact our services and we will refer your query to a qualified lawyer who can assist.
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