Bail can be given by the police or it can be given by a court before which the defendant appears. There is a presumption that bail should be granted (s4 Bail Act 1976). However bail need not be granted where there are substantial grounds for believing the accused would, if granted bail:
* Fail to surrender to custody.
* Commit an offence while on bail.
* Interfere with witnesses or otherwise obstruct the course of justice.
The court can also refuse bail if it is satisfied that the defendant should be kept in custody for his own protection.
Factor considered include:
* The nature and seriousness of the offence.
* The character, antecedents, associations and community ties of the defendant.
* The defendant's record of fulfilling his obligation under previous grants of bail.
* The strength of the evidence against the defendant.
The presumption in favour of bail is removed where it appears that the defendant has committed a triable either way offence or an indictable offence while on bail.
For murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, rape or attempted rape where the defendant has already served a custodial sentence for such an offence, bail should only be granted in exceptional circumstances (s56 Crime and Disorder Act 1998). The prosecution may appeal against the grant of bail for any offence which carries a sentence of imprisonment.
The police and courts can impose any requirements which are necessary to make sure that defendants attend court and do not commit offences or interfere with witnesses whilst on bail. Conditions can also be imposed for the defendant's own protection or welfare. Common conditions include not going within a certain distance of a witness's house, or being subject to a curfew. If a defendant is reported or believed to have breached...