Bail or Show Cause Hearing

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark Bossert, Top Local Lead Generation. We’re here talking with Criminal Lawyer in Vancouver, Troy Anderson. Troy has been a lawyer for twenty years; actively, very actively involved in defending folks in Vancouver, British Columbia. Troy, welcome to the show.

Troy: Thank you for having me.

Mark: So, Troy today we want to talk about bail or it’s got a different name here. What are the types of bail here in British Columbia?

Troy: I think the other name you’re probably referring to is Judicial Interim Release. That’s one, the more commonly used one is one that would be called an Undertaking to Appear or an Undertaking to a Peace Officer and this is when you are arrested and you’re dealt with on a relatively minor charge and then released by a police officer either at the scene or at the police station and they will commonly release you on what’s called an Undertaking to Appear and it will have conditions attached to it. Not many people understand that’s actually a form of bail which has conditions which do bind you just as if a judge had posted. There are procedures to review that type of bail but that may be a bit beyond our scope today. I think maybe more useful for everyone would be the talk about what we commonly call a bail hearing, the actual general bail hearing and I think that’s probably what you’re asking.

Mark: Sure, so what’s the difference, like is there, is it the level of charge that triggers the difference?

Troy: It is the level of charge and the police officer has limited authority to release you on an Undertaking to Appear. Some of the more serious charges they may not have that authority, for example, murder, you couldn’t ever be released, you can only be released by a Superior Court Justice or it may be that it fits within their policy that you have to be taken before a Judge. An example may be a domestic, an allegation of domestic assault and so the most important difference is when you are released by a police officer you don’t have an opportunity to be heard, that is that you don’t have an opportunity to make submissions on the conditions that you’re being found by. You’re simply released on those conditions and if you refuse to sign the Undertaking then you remain in jail until you have an opportunity to appear in front of a Judge and the reality is most people simply sign so they can get out. Most people frankly will sign anything to get out of jail. It’s not a very pleasant place to be, but it’s not hopeless in that point because you do have a right to have that Undertaking reviewed by a Judge. So that’s the most important difference. Your most, your more common type of bail, I mean what people think of when they think of bail is the actual bail hearing. So, you’re arrested, you’re charged with an offence, you’re then taken, you are the held in custody and you’re taken before a justice or a judge the next morning. What happens then is the Crown Prosecutor will present his or her case to the Court to show cause, why you ought to be denied bail or perhaps released on certain conditions and that bail may or may not have a deposit attached to it, be it a cash deposit which is just what is sounds, it’s a deposit of cash or Surety Bail and Surety Bail is a responsible person in the community who is prepared to post a portion of their equity in a piece of real property such as a house, or a condo or something like that. That kind of a Bail Hearing is done for more serious charges and if you or a loved one is in a situation where you’re facing an actual Bail Hearing in that regard I think it’s very important to get legal advice right away because your are in real jeopardy of being denied bail and if you are denied bail subject to the review provisions of the code you’re generally held in custody until your matter is concluded which can take months or years depending on the seriousness of the charge. The other thing you need to be aware of with regard to bail is that certain types of offences place the onus upon the person in custody to show cause why they ought to be released, so for example, if you are in custody having alleged to have breached a condition of previous bail by having committed a further offence then the onus is actually on you to show cause why you ought to be released. The onus is typically on the Crown to show cause why you need be detained.

Mark: So, it gets pretty important, fairly soon and probably, you know certainly more sooner than I would have expected, that you know, you can, you might be in a spot of bother way before you even knew that you could be in a lot of trouble.

Troy: Absolutely. Apart from the final finding of guilt vs not guilty the decision to grant or refuse bail is the most important one in the entire process. If you are refused bail and you’re trying to mount a defence, you’ve probably lost your job, you may have lost your home, you cannot have access to digging up witnesses, it’s more difficult to get in touch with your lawyers, it’s more difficult to meet with your lawyer. You don’t get to make phone calls whenever you want, you certainly aren’t allowed to send emails to people, so it really, really hampers your ability to defend yourself in fact. Which brings us into the next point and you alluded to that, which was getting a lawyer involved early, and what many people are, when they are arrested and taken before the Court is there will be a free Duty Counsel there and a Duty Counsel is the free lawyer who is available to anyone free of charge who is unable or unwilling to pay for their own one so your typical street person for example, will often use Duty Counsel because they don’t have the financial means to hire their own lawyer and that’s great. There’s a lot of Duty Counsel that do very, very good work but they are limited by time so if you are in a busy Court House and you’re the Duty Counsel you may see anywhere from twenty to forty people in one day and you are then trying to conduct a Bail Hearing or give advice to twenty or forty people who are in custody and so you’re just unable to do that as well as you could if you were representing only one client for example. So if I had my own client in Court I may do one Bail Hearing in a morning, perhaps another one in the afternoon. If you’re Duty Counsel you’re doing ten or twenty times that.

Mark: And so that just means you just don’t have the time, you’ve got five minutes to look at the case or whatever . . .

Troy: Absolutely and Duty Counsel’s typically only there for that one day, perhaps two or three days in a row and what they are really unable to do and it’s frankly outside of what they are expected to do is on a more serious charge put together a plan for release, so the most extreme example would be Murder Bail and Murder Bail you actually have to apply for bail in front of the Supreme Court and you need to get affidavit material prepared from the person who’s going to post your Surety, you need to have a coherent plan in place about where you’re going to live, who’s going to ensure your good conduct in the community, the conditions you’re prepared to abide by, you’re going to have some evidence about the financial means of the person who’s proposed to be of Surety or the source of your cash deposit for example and that’s not something that’s going to happen in a morning, that generally takes weeks before you can apply for a Murder Bail but even something less serious, let’s talk about a robbery or perhaps a kidnapping where bail can be done in Provincial Court. You’re not going to get released simply because you promise to come back to Court. You need to have somebody there to put together a coherent plan so you maximize your chances of getting bail because the consequences of being refused bail are terrible.

Mark: So just to be, you know, clear about it, I guess if somebody’s in that, any of those more serious kinds of charges they can literally spend months to years in jail before their hearing starts.

Troy: If you were detained in custody even in a relatively serious matter, or rather a relatively minor matter, I should say, you can expect to spend anywhere from three to six months awaiting your trial and so many people simply give up and plead guilty because the reality is for some of those less serious charges you’ll serve less time than if you, even were ultimately acquitted because of course you don’t get that time back and in more serious matters, yeah you could spend months or years in jail awaiting trial. Murder trial often takes a couple years from start to finish and so if you refuse bail that’s two years.

Mark: Right, so it becomes fairly important that your lawyer has a plan, is experienced, is able to formulate a strategy for you that’s going to give you, avail you of all the opportunities to defend yourself.

Troy: Absolutely. What you need is somebody who’s experienced and who has the time or will make the time to review the case against you and then to come up with a plan for your release because as I said, the consequences of failing are terrible and it’s important to get someone involved early and then to allow them to take the time to do the job properly.

Mark: So Troy, how does, how does someone get ahold of you if they’re ever, if they ever get themselves into some trouble that they need a lawyer.

Troy: Well, we as you indicated at the outset we have our website which is troyandersonlaw.com so you can, all contact information is on there. My email is Anderson@troyandersonlaw.com but if you or someone you know is in trouble and needs a bail hearing you phone me directly either at the office at 604-638-9188 or for the true emergency and by that I mean that you are actually sitting in a jail cell you phone me directly on my cell phone which is 604-916-1870 and for any other general questions you simply visit the website, again troyandersonlaw.com.

Mark: Awesome. Thanks a lot Troy. You’ve opened my eyes about the importance of bail and making sure we have a good lawyer. Thanks.

Troy: Thank you for your time.

Criminal Offence Charges

One of the most intimidating things about being charged with a crime is the actual process of going to court. It may begin with a summons you’ve received in the mail; it may begin with an arrest. You are immediately then faced with a very unfamiliar and hostile environment. You are facing police officers, crown prosecutors, and judges who are operating entirely within their own area of comfort. They go to court every day, they know each other, and they know the system.

You don’t need to face that alone. Together we can work through the disclosure application. That is demanding and reviewing copies of all the evidence that the crown intends to use against you. We will use this disclosure to plan a trial strategy. This will form the basis of your defence.

Many times we have discovered through the disclosure process evidence that may help exonerate you. This is a very important process. It is not something you need to face alone. I will go to court for you and I will make sure you get through the process properly.

I will do everything in my power to make sure that the consequences that you face will be as minimal as possible. I will do everything in my power to get you acquitted of a crime. I will do everything in my power to get a charge dropped if that is possible.

The process need not be completely overwhelming; it need not be intimidating. With the right help you will find that it is not nearly as hopeless as it looks at the beginning.

Get the Legal Advice You Need

When people come in to see me regarding a criminal matter they often feel hopeless. I‘ve spoken to hundreds of people who talk to me, and their first thought is, I might as well plead guilty. That is the exact wrong approach to take. We can sit down, work together and it’s amazing how many times the person ends up getting the charge dropped, getting acquitted or pleading to a much lesser offence than they thought they were doomed to be convicted of.

Many people come in to see me feeling absolutely hopeless. You’re not going to court by yourself. Make an appointment. I will sit down with you and together we’ll come up with a plan. Lets get started.

Being Charged with a Crime is Humiliating and Frightening

My name is Troy Anderson, I’m a criminal defence lawyer.

When people are charged with an offence they either contact me by phone or when they meet me in my office; we work together to come up with a plan to regain your freedom. I sit down with the client, sometimes with the family. We go over the evidence, we go over the case. I explain the law.

Being charged with a crime is humiliating, it’s frightening, and it is very, very intimidating. When you are charged with a crime you need somebody with experience, knowledge and compassion to help you through the process. I have worked with thousands of people to help them get their lives back. Together we go over the evidence, we go over the law, we plan a strategy and we work together to get you out of the situation that you’ve been dragged into.

I Just Want to See My Kids – Bail Conditions in Spousal Assault Cases

For many people charged with spousal or domestic assault, one of the most pressing issues is the extreme restrictions placed upon them by conditions of Bail. Most spousal assault charges result in the accused being taken to Court where they are seen by Duty Counsel, the free lawyer available to those who don’t yet have their own lawyer. Duty Counsel will meet, often very briefly, with the person and then leave to discuss the case with the Prosecutor. For the majority of cases, these discussions lead to the Crown proposing a “Consent Release” for the accused.
This Consent Release typically contains conditions which prohibit the accused from attending his or her home, contacting his or her spouse or partner, and may severely restrict access to children. It will sometimes also prohibit alcohol consumption, and require the accused to report to a Bail Supervisor. Most people in custody agree to all the conditions on the Consent Release without understanding that they have the right to argue against them in Court that same day. This happens because most people who are in jail will agree to absolutely anything just to get out.
Many don’t understand that these conditions remain in place until the Charge is finally dealt with.
All of these are at least inconvenient and, in the case of access to children, may be extremely harmful to the family in general and the children in particular. This is especially true when the case begins to drag on for weeks or months.
Amending or deleting bail conditions is possible and in fact done quite regularly. It is important to retain a Criminal Defence Lawyer who defends Spousal Assault cases regularly and who knows how to approach an application to change Bail. Bail Variation Applications in Provincial Court require the consent of the Crown Prosecutor for a Judge to even consider them. This means that Defence Counsel must work with the client to formulate a plan which will satisfy not only the concerns of the Court but also those of the Crown.
When I am retained on a Spousal Assault case, the first issue I address is the Bail Conditions and whether they are workable for the client. In most cases, I am able to work with the Client to find workable Bail Conditions and then put together a plan to convince the Crown to consent to the Application. While this is not always possible, in most cases we are able to arrive at terms of Bail that are the least disruptive, given the circumstances.