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Racist and religious crime – CPS prosecution policy

Annex C - Bail


A court can remand a defendant in custody, or can grant bail, with or without conditions. Before the first court hearing, the police can also detain a defendant in custody or grant bail, with or without conditions attached, but the police's power are more limited than the court's.

Conditions can only be imposed to ensure that the defendant attends the next court hearing, commits no new offences in the meantime and does not interfere with witnesses or obstruct the course of justice.

Examples of bail conditions imposed by the courts

A court can impose any condition that seems appropriate in the circumstances of the particular case. Here are some examples of typical bail conditions imposed by the courts:

  • The defendant must not contact, either directly or indirectly, a named person or persons.
  • This means no contact whatsoever, including by telephone, fax, e-mail, text message or letter or through another person e.g. the defendant cannot get a relative to make contact on his or her behalf.

  • The defendant must not go to a named place.
  • This is usually a specific address, but may also be a street, a town, an area or even a whole county. Sometimes, a court will say that the defendant must not go within a specified distance of a place e.g. within half a mile of the victim's home address.

  • The defendant must reside at a named address.
  • This means must live and sleep each night there.

  • The defendant must present him/herself to a police officer on request when living at a named address.
  • Known commonly as a "doorstep condition", this allows the police to check that a person is staying at an address that the court has specified as a condition of bail, or is complying with a curfew condition.

  • The defendant must report to a named police station on a given day or days at a given time.
  • For example every weekday at 8.30 a.m.

  • The defendant must abide by a curfew between certain specified hours.
  • This means remaining indoors for example, from 9pm to 8am.

  • The defendant must provide a security to the court.
  • If it is thought that the defendant might not attend the next court hearing, the court can order that a set sum of money be paid into the court. If the defendant fails to attend the next hearing then the money can be forfeited.

  • The defendant must provide a surety.
  • A friend or relative must agree to ensure that the defendant attends court, or the friend or relative could lose a specified sum of money.

Sometimes, for practical reasons, there may be exceptions attached to the condition. For example:

  • The defendant must not go to a named place except:
    • to attend court;
    • to see their solicitor by prior appointment;
    • to collect belongings at an appointed time and accompanied by police officer;
    • to see children under supervision at a specified time.

Breaching bail conditions

If the defendant breaches bail conditions, the police can arrest the defendant and the court can remand the defendant in custody.

Sometimes, the defendant may ask that the conditions of bail that have been imposed should be removed or altered in some way. The police or court have to be satisfied that there is a very good reason for this and will have to consider the reasons why the conditions were imposed in the first place and balance this against the defendant's reasons for asking for a change or removal of the conditions.

The defendant is responsible for complying with any conditions imposed by the police or the court until released from those conditions by the police or the court.

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