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Bail – As a relative, what should I know?

What is bail?

Bail is when an accused person is released from the custody of law enforcement officers and entrusted to the custody of a surety or sureties who are bound ensure the accused’s attendance in court and/or to produce the accused for the purposes of investigations when required.

The surety or a bailor is the person who furnished security for bail by either pledging some of a cash deposit with the court or property (collateral) pledged as a guarantee for the amount of bail. The person who executes this bail bond will be responsible for ensuring that the accused attends court and investigations when called upon.

Can I be a bailor?

As long as you are a Singapore citizen and above 21 years old, you will be able to stand in as a bailor. Other requirements include that the bailor must not be bankrupt and does not have any pending criminal proceedings against him or her.

However, the suitability to be a bailor is subject to the discretion of the Court, and the Court may impose additional restrictions on who can stand as a bailor for an accused person.

How is the bail amount decided?

The amount of bail is decided at the court’s discretion, and the court takes into account a few factors.

Some of the relevant factors are as follows::

nature and gravity of the offence/s charged

severity and degree of punishment which the conviction may entail

character, means and standing of the accused

whether the accused is a first offender or has a previous conviction, etc.

What about instances where there is no bail offered? Why?

Offences are classified into bailable and non-bailable offences. For bailable offences as the classification suggests, the accused is generally allowed to be released on bail.

Where no bail is offered, the offence is usually a non-bailable offence. For these offences, the police or the court has the discretion to decide whether to release the accused person on bail.

However, if the offence that accused is charged with is punishable with death or life imprisonment, the accused will not be entitled to be released on bail and will have to be remanded.

Must I provide cash for the bail?

Generally, if the bail bond amount does not exceed $15,000, personal property items can be used as proof of their worth. These can be items such as jewellery or household items, which belongs to the bailor.

In the event the bail sum is more than $15,000, the bailor will be required to provide cash as security for the bail bond. Alternatively, cash equivalents such as your bank savings accounts or fixed deposits can be considered as security for bail.

What if the amount for bail is too high and I cannot afford it?

If the bail amount offered is too high and no one is able to post bail for the accused, the accused will be remanded at Changi Prisons. The accused is allowed to ask for a bail review, where the accused or his lawyer can ask the court to lower the bail amount or vary its conditions to include more bailors for the same sum.

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What are my duties as a bailor?

The duties as a bailor is a very serious obligation, and all bailors must ensure the following:

The accused person who is released on bail must surrender to custody, or makes himself available for investigations or attends court on the day and at the time and place appointed for him to do so;

Keep in daily contact with the released person, be aware of his whereabouts. The bailor must lodge a police report within 24 hours of losing contact with him; and

That the accused person released on bail stays in Singapore unless he or she has been granted permission to leave the country by the court or the police.

Can I get out of my responsibilities as a bailor?

The simple answer is no. Any agreement you enter with the accused in relation to your obligations as a bailor is not valid. You are also not allowed to delegate your duties as a bailor to somebody else. As long as the bail bond is still valid and you remain as the bailor, you must ensure that the accused attends his court mentions and/or whenever he is called for investigations.

Must I follow the accused to court?

Not necessarily, you must, however, be aware of the court mentions that the accused has to attend, and you must ensure that the accused is attends. You do not have to accompany the accused to court, but if you think that there is a risk that he may not attend the court mention, then you must do everything that is necessary to ensure their attendance.

What if the accused jumps bail? Will I be penalised?

You will not be punished. But the first thing that will happen when an accused jumps bail is that the court will issue a warrant of arrest against the accused. The bail will also be revoked and will no longer be valid. The second thing is that the court will issue a “Notice too how to Cause” to you as the bailor.

This notice against you will ask you to attend court on a specified date to explain why you should not be ordered to pay in full the bail amount that was forfeited. At this hearing, the court will ask you for a reason/s why the accused did not attend court and what you have done to make sure that he attended.

For example, if the bail amount that you have executed for the accused is $5,000, the court will ask you to explain the reason/s why you should not be asked to pay the full $5,000.

I am a bailor for an accused person who is a troublemaker, what can I do?

Always remember your obligation to be a bailor is a voluntary one. If you are unable to exercise your duties as a bailor properly, or if the accused is making it difficult for you to exercise those duties, you can always apply to the court to have yourself discharged as a bailor. This application can be made at the next court mention or in writing. You must be present with the accused for you to discharge yourself a bailor.

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Our specialised lawyers and their team are standing by to assist you. Our first consultation is free.

The information contained within this website contains general information about our lawyers, Law Firm and procedures and is not intended to constitute legal advice.
Any person viewing or receiving information from this Website should not act or refrain from acting, on the basis of any such information without first seeking appropriate legal advice.
Please consult a lawyer for specific review of your case and advise. 

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