Are bail hearings different if I’m Indigenous?

2. Develop your bail plan

The Crown might be concerned about letting you out on . The risks or reasons that you should not be let out on bail are called “grounds of ”.

The Crown can use 3 reasons to argue that you should not be let out on bail. These are called:

  • Primary grounds: You might not go to court when you’re supposed to.
  • Secondary grounds: You might commit another crime, the public might not be safe while you’re out on bail, or you might interfere in the case before it’s concluded.
  • Tertiary grounds: Because of the circumstances of your criminal , the public might feel that the justice system is not working if you’re let out of .

The Crown can disagree with your request for bail even if they are concerned about only one of these reasons.

Your bail plan should address the Crown’s concerns about releasing you. Your plan should include:

  • where you will live
  • how you will be supervised in the community, if supervision is required
  • who is available to help supervise you
  • what release conditions are reasonable and necessary
  • information about your job or any courses you’re taking
  • how you plan to address any drug use, or alcohol issues
  • how you plan to keep track of your court dates and how you will get to court

Even if you can’t meet with an Indigenous court worker or someone from an Indigenous organization, you can still develop a bail plan that will allow the court to address the Gladue principles. Your lawyer or can also help you develop a bail plan that is appropriate in your situation.  

Surety

Your lawyer or duty counsel will look at your charges and your criminal history and tell you if the court might need a surety for you to be released on bail.

A is someone who promises money to the court and agrees to supervise you while you’re released on bail. Usually the surety is a friend or relative who knows you well and who the court thinks will make sure you follow your bail conditions.

Bail program

If you don’t have a surety, ask your lawyer or duty counsel to refer you to the . The bail program is a government-funded program that gives bail supervision to some accused people who don’t have sureties.

It’s very important that the bail program knows you identify as Indigenous. You can ask if there is a special bail program for Indigenous people.

In some places, there are Indigenous Bail Verification and Supervision Programs (BVSP). BVSPs offer support to Indigenous people who need a surety to be released on bail but don’t have one.

To qualify for the Bail Program, you must agree to:

  • report to your caseworker as often as needed,
  • follow your bail terms, and
  • do counselling for mental health or addictions issues, if that is something you agreed to with the bail program worker.

You might not qualify for the bail program if your criminal record shows you didn’t follow your bail conditions or order, or if you have a conviction for failing to attend court.

The bail program can assign a caseworker at the courthouse to supervise you. If you don’t report to bail program or you don’t follow their rules, they can ask for a be put out for your and your bail might be cancelled.

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