On what grounds can a judge deny bail?

A judge can deny bail in certain circumstances found in section 515 of the Criminal Code:

1. Primary Grounds refer to whether detention is required to ensure an accused person will appear in court. Generally, bail is denied on this ground in situation where a person has a history of failing to appear in court, they are a flight risk or the person has no connection to the court jurisdiction such as living in a different province or country. Factors considered by a Judge can include:

  • Family or community roots in the jurisdiction
  • Citizenship
  • Current residence
  • Employment history
  • Assets in the community
  • Age and maturity
  • History of substance abuse
  • History of flight
  • Criminal record for breaches
  • Motive to flee the jurisdiction
  • Availability of sureties

On what grounds can a judge deny bail?

2. Secondary Grounds refer to whether detention is necessary to protect the public. This is where there is “substantial likelihood” the accused person will commit a further offence. A substantial likelihood means a substantial risk and is not the same as proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Factors considered by a Judge can include:

  • Seriousness and nature of the offence
  • Accused’s potential culpability
  • Involvement of firearms
  • Degree of planning and deliberation
  • Duration of the offence
  • Number of offences
  • Likelihood of lengthy sentence
  • Accused’s criminal record

3. Tertiary Grounds refer to whether detention is required to maintain confidence in the administration of justice, having regard to all the circumstances. This is generally reserved for very serious offences in which four factors a judge considers are:

  • The apparent strength of the Crown Prosecutor’s case;
  • The seriousness of the offence;
  • The circumstances surrounding the offence; and
  • The potential length of a jail sentence.

About Cory Wilson

Cory has represented individuals from all walks of life including lawyers, police officers, athletes, corporate executives, teachers, and everything in between. Cory believes in access to justice for every person charged with a criminal offence regardless of their economic background.

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