4. Go to the bail hearing

Bail hearings are being heard virtually, either by phone or video using Zoom, unless the judge decides it should be in person. The judge might choose an in-person if the jail doesn't have a good internet connection or if the is very complicated.

In-person hearings

If the hearing is in person, try to get to court early. You will need time to go through security and find the courtroom. If you're not sure which courtroom you need to be in, ask the lawyer or . Sit in the main seating area in the courtroom until you are called by the lawyer.

Virtual hearings

If the hearing is virtual, it will be held by video using Zoom. The person's lawyer will give you the details about when and how to join the virtual hearing. If the accused person doesn't have a lawyer, you can contact your local court or duty counsel office.

It's a good idea to log in 15 minutes early. If you're late, the matter may be to another day. This means the person you're trying to out will be kept in until the next hearing date and you will need to be available on another date for the .

You will need a good internet connection and a device with a microphone and camera, like a computer or tablet.

The accused's lawyer should make sure you have the right technology. If the accused doesn't have a lawyer, and you don't have a computer or internet access, you should talk to duty counsel or the court about other options, like joining by phone.

Here are some other things to keep in mind for your virtual hearing:

  • Dress appropriately.
  • Raise your hand when you want to speak.
  • Speak slowly and clearly.
  • Mute your microphone when you're not speaking.

The hearing

Before the hearing, the accused's lawyer or duty counsel will review the bail plan with you and help you prepare to tell the court about the plan.

When the bail hearing begins, the Crown will read what the person has been accused of doing to the court. Keep in mind that the person you're bailing out is and the details which are read out by the Crown are only allegations.

As the , you'll be asked to tell the court who you are and why you're presenting yourself as a surety. This involves swearing an oath. When you swear an oath, you promise to tell the truth when answering questions. You'll have to tell the court about:

  • your background, such as your citizenship status, criminal record, where you live, who you live with, where you work and when
  • your relationship to the accused person
  • the bail plan for the accused person
  • your personal finances or information about your financial assets
  • your understanding of what it means to be a surety
  • what you will do if the person you're bailing doesn't listen to you or is breaching the bail conditions

The lawyer and the Crown will ask you questions. The judge or justice of the peace may also ask you some questions to clarify your before they decide whether to appoint you as a surety.

Answer all questions honestly. If you don't understand a question, say so.

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