Courts have discretionary powers when granting or refusing bail. They may impose conditions on the accused person in addition to the bail amount. Such conditions safeguard the community or the accused person and discourage recidivism. They also provide additional safeguards that increase the confidence of the court that the accused person will not abscond. The conditions issued must not be oppressive or unduly restrictive. They must be realistic and capable of being complied with and enforced. The courts should remember that they are not granting these conditions as punishment. The conditions are a means for securing compliance with the bail terms. The purpose of imposing bail conditions is to secure that an accused person:
- will appear for his trial in accordance with the bail terms.
- does not commit another offence while on bail.
- will not endanger the safety or welfare of members of the public.
- will not endanger himself.
- does not obstruct justice.
General Bail Conditions
The court may impose the general conditions for bond below. In addition the court may also impose specific conditions for specific crime.
1. Residence requirements
This condition requires that the accused person reside at a particular known address with or without supervision during the pendency of his trial. Supervision may be from parents or other family members or from probation officers or other law enforcement officials.
This is where the court restricts the accused person from leaving his residence or going to a particular place during certain hours of the day or night.
3. Exclusion zones
The accused person is restricted from going to particular places during the pendency of his case. For example, if the accused person commits a wildlife crime, he is excluded from going to a wildlife area during the pendency of this case.
4. No contact conditions
This includes conditions that the accused person should not contact the witnesses, the victim or persons related to the witnesses and the victim. It could also include a condition that the accused person does not contact other known or suspected offenders of similar crimes to that of the accused person.
5. Reporting to a police station
Under this condition, the accused person is required to report to a police station on a regular basis as a way of monitoring his movements and activities.
6. Not committing offences
The accused person should not commit any offence during the pendency of his case, whether or not it is similar to the one for which he is on trial.
7. Not leaving the jurisdiction of the court
This could include an order that the accused person deposits his passport from the court to prevent him from travelling out of the country. The court could also require that the accused person reports to court at certain intervals and on dates that are not necessarily his trial dates to ensure that he is still within the jurisdiction of the court.
Breach of Bail Conditions
If the accused person breaches bail conditions, the police can arrest him and the court can alter or revoke his bail terms. However, it should be remembered that the breach of the conditions of bail in itself is not a criminal offence. Where the breach results in a commission of a criminal offence, the accused person should be charged with the subsequent offence committed.