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Bail conditions for those charged with riot-related offences – Information from Vancouver riots lawyer

Posted on October 3, 2012

vancouver riots lawyer

In the recent weeks, the police have recommended 200 charges against 50 new individuals suspected of participating in the June 2011 Stanley Cup Riots. If you find yourself being charged with riot related offences, it is important for you to understand your rights not to be denied reasonable bail without just cause. Reasonable bail not only means whether or not you will be held in custody pending your trial, but also what conditions you will be subject while on bail.

What is Bail?

Bail is formally known as judicial interim release. If someone is granted bail, the person is allowed to remain in the community pending the resolution of his matter, often subject to certain conditions of release.

It is important to note that in most cases, it is Crown Counsel who bears the onus, on a balance of probabilities, to show why an individual should not be allowed to remain in the community pending his trial. In considering whether or not a person should be granted bail, the court will look at the following criteria (as set out in s. 515(10) of the Criminal Code):

  • Primary grounds: is detention necessary to ensure that the person will come to court?
  • Secondary grounds: is detention necessary to ensure the safety of the community and complainants and to ensure that the person will not commit further offences?
  • Tertiary grounds: is detention necessary to ensure the public confidence in the administration of justice?

If the Crown Counsel fails to satisfy the court that detention is necessary to meet the above objectives, the court shall ordered that the person be released on bail.

Reasonable Bail Conditions

It is important to remember that at the bail stage of the proceedings, you are presumed innocent. Any bail conditions imposed by the court are not supposed to be punitive in nature, but rather must be tailored towards ensuring that you attend court and do not commit any further offences in the interim.

In most cases, it can take several months for your case to be resolved in the court system, even longer if you choose to take the matter to trial. All the while when you are waiting for your matter to be resolved, you will be bound by your bail conditions. This is why it is important to ensure that the conditions are ones which you can obey. Any failure to comply with your bail conditions can result in your bail being revoked (and you being held in custody until your matter is resolved) and potentially new criminal charges.

One condition sought on nearly every case of a person charged with riot related offences is a no go to City of Vancouver bounded by Carrall Street to the east, Bach Avenue/Pacific Blvd. to the south, Denman St./Jervis St. to the west a, and  W. Cordova Street/Water Street to the north. This area restriction encompasses the entirety of the Downtown Vancouver core and have a significant impact on one’s ability to work, go to school, and so on.

Our team has been successful in having these area restrictions deleted from bail conditions as there were found to be “overly broad” and not connected to the purposes and principles of bail and the Charter. It is critical to making such an application that you contact counsel in advance of your first appearance date in court. While you can make applications to vary your bail conditions at any time, typically such an application requires the Crown’s consent or appearing in British Columbia Supreme Court (which is often costly). By contacting legal counsel in advance of your first appearance date, you may be able to make an application to change your conditions as of right and in Provincial Court.

Need a reliable Vancouver riots lawyer? Contact Mitch Foster

If you are facing riot related charges and need help from an experienced criminal defence lawyer who has worked on many impaired driving matters, Mitch Foster is the right choice. Contact Mitch Foster today to receive a free no obligation consultation and see how we can help you.