“Bail” refers to the release of an accused person from official custody through a payment of a sum of money that acts as insurance for the arrested person to show up in Court. It is the release of a person from lawful custody into the custody of his sureties. Bail does not mean one is free of their charge but does mean that they are able to go out about their business prior to the trial.
The accused has one or more sureties (being third parties) that execute the bond.
What is the purpose of granting bail?
The purpose of granting bail is for the following reasons:-
- Preserve the guiding principle in criminal law that a person is innocent until proven guilty; and
- Ensure that the accused does not abscond before trial.
Is Bail allowed on all types of charges?
There are Bailable and Non-Bailable offences. A Bailable offence refers to an offence under Penal Code and any other statute shown as bailable in Schedule A or the First Schedule unless expressly provided for in any other law. A Non-Bailable offence refers to any other offence.
Bail is a substantive right given (R v Lim Kwang Seng  MLJ 178), and a person accused of a bailable offence has the right of bail.
Types of Bail
The two types of bail are as follows:-
- Police Bail; and
- Court Bail.
Police Bail is typically granted at the investigation stage, at the discretion of the Commissioner of Police or by Court. Bail at this juncture can be extended, but not indefinitely.
Court Bail may be granted when the Court takes into consideration of the following non-exhaustive considerations (PP v Yang Yin  2 SLR 78):-
- Whether there are reasonable grounds for believing the accused is guilty of the evidence;
- The nature and gravity of the offence charged;
- The severity and degree of punishment that might follow;
- The danger of the accused absconding if released on bail;
- The accused’s character, means and standing;
- The danger of the offence being continued or repeated;
- The danger of witnesses being tampered with;
- Whether the grant of bail is essential to ensure that the accused has an adequate opportunity to prepare his defence; and
- The length of the period of detention of the accused and the probability of any further period of delay.
For offences that are non-bailable, the onus is on the accused to convince the Court that bail should be adduced to them through evidence. However, an accused must not be released on bail for the reasons as listed in section 95(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), being:-
- Charged for an offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life;
- Accused of any non-bailable offence, and if the Court believes that the accused will not surrender to custody, be available for investigations, or attend court; or
- Had been arrested or taken into custody under a warrant under section 12 or 24 of the Extradition Act 1968 (or endorsed under section 33 of the Act).
Bailors/Sureties provide security for the bail amount ordered by the Court, ensuring that the accused attends Court and complies with other bail conditions. The bond can be forfeited, but in exceptional circumstances, the Court will refrain from forfeiting the entire bond
The duties of a surety are as follows (as at section 104 of the Criminal Procedure Code):-
- Ensure accused’s surrender to custody and accused’s attendance in Court;
- Keep daily contact with accused and make police report within 24 hours upon losing contact; and
- Ensure accused is in Singapore unless leave is permitted by a police officer.
The obligation of a surety is serious and onerous.
Bail vs Personal Bond
In some situations, a personal bond could be granted instead of bail. Unlike bail, personal bonds are where the accused executes the bond himself, acting as his own ‘surety’ with no third-party involvement.
Typically, personal bonds are granted where the Court or police officer requires the accused to sign a bond with one or more sureties. Hence, the Court or an office may permit the person to enter into his or her own personal bond and provide security acceptable to the Court or Officer.
Where you might require more advice and consultancy about your case and the legal procedures, it is ideal to consult a lawyer for guidance and representation. Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu of Amarjit Sidhu Law Corporation has represented numerous clients in a wide variety of matters over the years, from traffic offences to high-profile criminal cases – to family and divorce matters. With a vast knowledge of Singapore’s laws and wealth of experience, Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu will be able to provide valuable and timely advice for your situation. For more information, feel free to contact us for a consultation.