Your Guide to Contested Bail Hearing

Explore the intricacies of a contested bail hearing with Sondhi Defence. Understand the process, legal strategies, and how our expertise can guide you through challenging bail decisions.

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What Are Bail Hearings Contested? 

A bail hearing is essential in the legal process when accused of a criminal offence. In bail hearings, the court decides whether to release or detain an accused person from custody pending trial. In some cases, the bail hearings may be contested if the Crown prosecutor believes the accused should not be released. However, the Crown needs to explain why the accused should not be released from custody.

A contested bail could mean you must remain in jail awaiting trial. You need legal help from a criminal defence lawyer to defend your position and convince the judge that you deserve bail. At Sondhi Defence, we possess extensive experience in criminal defence and have guided many through contested bail hearings. We can help you achieve the most favourable outcome.

Learn more on how contested bail hearings works in Ontario, Canada, below.

Understanding Contested Bail Hearings in Ontario

A contested bail hearing occurs when the prosecution challenges the release of the accused pending trial or its conditions.

Both parties present evidence and legal arguments during contested bail hearing procedures. The prosecution announces the grounds for their request to detain an accused and provides other relevant information to support their request. ​

The court aims to balance the accused’s right to liberty. Thus, if the judge grants bail, they may impose certain conditions. The accused also requires a surety, a person responsible for their compliance with bail conditions.

If the accused is unsatisfied with the ruling, they can appeal to a higher Ontario court. They can also apply for detention review if their circumstances change after the bail decision.

If the accused breaches the bail conditions, the prosecution may apply a revocation, after which the accused will be taken back into custody.

The right to bail is fundamental in Canada unless there’s just cause for denial. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms emphasizes the right to reasonable bail. However, there are three grounds on which bail may be denied:

  • The risk of flight

  • Potential danger to public safety

  • Concerns that the accused may interfere with justice administration

The accused can seek legal help during a contested bail hearing. The defence lawyer can assist in addressing the concerns raised by the prosecution and present arguments in favour of the accused’s release.

The Legal Process for Contested Bail Hearings in Ontario

The legal process for contested bail hearings in Ontario follows the Ontario Court of Justice protocol. Before the first court appearance, the Crown and defence counsel should engage in pre-court discussions.

The purpose is to determine whether to proceed as a consent release or a contested hearing. They identify issues in dispute and make efforts to narrow them down. Additionally, they discuss the nature of evidence and its presentation.

If the Crown decides to proceed with a contested bail hearing, the hearing will begin with the reading of your charges and why you shouldn’t be released on bail or under the proposed conditions. Your lawyer will try to convince the court to release you by presenting your release plan and a surety to testify.

The specific process may vary based on the circumstances of each case, but it is always challenging. However, with proper legal representation, you can navigate these complexities and know exactly what to expect in a bail hearing.

What Is the Burden of Proof in Contested Bail Hearings?

The burden of proof or “onus” lies with the Crown prosecutor when seeking to prove that there is just cause to detain the accused. However, in serious offences, the burden of proof can shift between the Crown and the accused.

Crown Onus Hearing

During a Crown Onus hearing, the prosecution needs to prove why the accused should be denied bail. However, it should be under specific grounds, including:

  • Protecting the community from their risk
  • Their likelihood of not appearing in court
  • Maintaining confidence in the administration of justice.

Reverse Onus Hearing

In reverse onus hearings, the burden of proof falls on the accused. When accused of a serious offence, such as murder and sexual assault, you will be required to present compelling reasons why the court must release you.

Frequently Asked Questions on Contested Bail Hearings

Contested bail hearings can be a source of anxiety and confusion for many. Here are answers to some common questions that may help clarify the process.

What Is the Difference Between a Contested and Uncontested Bail Hearing?

A contested bail hearing occurs when the Crown opposes the release of the accused, requiring a more detailed examination of the case. On the other hand, an uncontested hearing involves no opposition to bail, often leading to a smoother process.

What Are the Possible Outcomes of a Contested Bail Hearing?

The court may decide to grant bail with specific conditions, deny bail, or adjourn the hearing to a later date for further consideration. 

What Happens If Bail is Denied?

If bail is denied, the accused must remain in custody until the trial or until a successful bail review or appeal is conducted.

How Can I Improve My Chances at a Contested Bail Hearing?

Working closely with a skilled defence lawyer, preparing a solid bail plan, and ensuring the presence of a reliable surety are critical steps to improving your chances. 

Factors Considered in Contested Bail Hearings

During the bail hearing, the judge must decide on several factors, including granting or denying bail and, if granted, the bail conditions.

Assessing Risk

In assessing whether to grant bail, the judge will consider the following:

  • The severity of the charges
  • Criminal record
  • Potential threat to the community
  • Flight risk

Sureties and Other Conditions

A surety is a person who takes responsibility for the accused and ensures compliance with bail conditions. The court may impose surety releases as a condition only when it’s the most favourable option, according to sections 515(1)-(2.01) of the Criminal Code.

The role of a surety is to ensure the accused satisfies all bail conditions. These include attending court hearings, reporting to a bail officer, and a travel ban. The surety is also required to report any violations or issues with the bail.

Sureties are often required to sign a bond promising the court to pay a certain amount of money if the bail conditions are violated. However, on rare occasions, the surety may be required to make a deposit. When bail is breached, the surety loses the deposit or is required to pay the bond amount.

When selecting a surety, you should consider someone trustworthy, responsible, who has a stable background, and someone you trust implicitly.

It’s crucial that the surety fully comprehends the responsibilities and potential financial risks involved. Furthermore, they should be adequately prepared for contested bail hearings. They should be prepared to answer questions about their relationship with you, their understanding of the conditions, and their ability to ensure compliance.

Challenges Encountered in Contested Bail Hearings

Some of the challenges you may encounter in contested bail hearings include:

  • Strength of the Crown’s case
  • Serious criminal charges
  • Availability of sureties
  • Proposed bail conditions

Navigating the Aftermath of Contested Bail Hearings

The period following a contested bail hearing is crucial, regardless of the outcome. Here’s what you need to know:

  • If bail is granted: Compliance with all bail conditions is paramount. Non-compliance can lead to revocation of bail and return to custody. It’s also a time to prepare for trial, working closely with your defence team to build a strong case.
  • If bail is denied: Explore options for appeal or bail review with your lawyer. Understanding the reasons for denial is essential to address them effectively in a subsequent application or appeal.

Why Choose Sondhi Defence?

When facing contested bail hearings, it is crucial to consult with a lawyer. At Sondhi Defence, we understand the implications of attending a bail hearing without a well-thought-out release plan and defence. This is why we provide effective legal representation to secure favourable outcomes for our clients.

Our team is committed to providing robust legal representation. We work closely with our clients, offering support throughout the process. We aim to ensure you get a fair opportunity to present your case and seek release under reasonable conditions.

Our lawyers can explain the relevant laws and regulations related to bail in Ontario. They can also help you understand the potential outcomes of the bail hearing.

Our lawyers can assist in negotiating with the Crown to reach an agreement on reasonable and fair bail conditions. We can represent you throughout the process, from bail hearing to sentencing. Our priority is to protect your rights and achieve the best possible results.

Secure your Freedom With Sondhi Defence Today

Contested bail hearings are challenging legal proceedings that require effective legal representation. In pursuing justice, every argument presented can be your turning point. At Sondhi Defence, we understand the impact of the bail hearing on your criminal case.

We invite you to consult our legal team and explore your legal options. Your freedom is our priority, and we will do everything we can to secure it. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

Get In Touch

If you or someone you know has been charged with a criminal offence, call us right away at 1 (855) 4-SONDHI and get our team on your side. 

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