What is Bail?
An accused is on bail when he is released from the custody of law enforcement officers and entrusted to the custody of a surety or sureties who are bound to produce him when required to do so.
The surety or sureties who procure the release of the accused become responsible for his appearance when required at the stipulated time and place. The responsibility of a surety to ensure the attendance of the accused in court is a very serious one.
Security for bail may be furnished either in the form of a cash deposit with the court or property (collateral) pledged as guarantee for the amount of the bail sum. The person who provides this security is called a surety or a bailor.
Who can grant bail?
The Court, a police officer who is not below the rank of sergeant and other law enforcement officers are empowered to grant bail.
When can an accused be released on bail?
An accused may be offered police bail after his arrest and before he is charged in Court. Once the accused is formally charged in Court and until the case is concluded, the police bail granted may be extended or fresh bail may be offered at the first mention by the Court.
Once bail is granted, the accused would be remanded until the bail bond is executed. If the bail offered is not processed within the same day, the accused would be remanded (imprisoned) until his next appearance in Court unless someone agrees to stand bail for him.
If a person agrees to be the bailor, he/she would have to go to the Bail Centre (Level 4, State Courts Tower) during its registration hours. The accused would be released from remand once the bail is furnished.
Who can stand as surety?
Anyone who is a Singapore citizen, above 21 years old, is not a bankrupt and does not have any pending criminal proceedings against him or her may stand as surety. The suitability to be a surety is subject to the discretion of the Court. The Court may also impose certain restrictions on who can stand as surety, for example, in cases involving minors, the Court may order that only the parent or guardian can stand as surety.
What are the operation hours of the Bail Centre?
Level 4, State Courts Tower
(Last Registration at 12:30pm)
2:00pm – 6:00pm
(Last Registration at 5:00pm)
8:30am – 1:00pm
(Last Registration at 12:30pm)
2:00pm – 5:30pm
(Last Registration at 4:30pm)
8:30 am – 1:00pm
(Last Registration at 12:00pm)
How is the amount of bail decided?
The amount of bail is at the Court's discretion. When bail is offered by the Court, the Prosecuting Officer may suggest an amount for the bail sum. If the accused or his counsel is of the view that the amount is too high, he/she may make a counter-proposal. The Court may proceed to hear arguments from both sides before determining the amount.
Some relevant factors considered by the Court are:
- nature and gravity of the offence(s) charged
- severity and degree of punishment which the conviction may entail
- character, means and standing of the accused
- whether the accused is a first offender or has a previous conviction, etc.
What are the steps involved in the processing of the bail bond?
Where the bail sum does not exceed $15,000, personal property items may be used as proof of their worth. These include jewellery or household items, which must be fully paid up and belong to the surety.
Where the bail sum is greater than $15,000, the surety is required to provide cash or cash equivalents such as fixed deposits or savings accounts as security for bail.
What happens during the execution of the bail bond?
The responsibilities of the surety and the consequences of breaching the conditions of bail will be explained by an interpreter to the surety. The surety will also be informed of the next mention or trial date. Following that, the surety will be brought before a Magistrate to acknowledge the bail bond. The Magistrate would ascertain from the surety whether he is aware of the mention or trial date and whether he/she is aware of his/her duties as a surety. Following that, the accused would be released on bail.
Are there conditions attached to bail?
Yes, conditions may be attached. The usual condition is that the accused person shall not leave Singapore until he has obtained the Court's permission to do so, or if he is on police bail, the police officer's approval is required. The surety must also consent if there is an application by the accused to go overseas.
Where the accused person is a foreigner, the Court will require that the surety must be a Singaporean and that the accused person surrenders his/her passport.
What are the consequences of breaching bail?
If an accused fails to appear in Court on the stipulated date and time, the Court will issue a Warrant of Arrest against him. A "notice to show cause" will also be issued to the surety to enable him/her to explain to the Court on a specified date as to why he/she should not be ordered to pay the bail amount forfeited by the Court.
If the forfeited sum is not paid, the Court may proceed to recover the sum by issuing an Order of Attachment against and Sale of Property to enforce bond against surety. If the forfeited sum cannot be recovered by such attachment and sale, the surety is liable to imprisonment for a term which may extend to 12 months.
How do I obtain a refund of my bail?
The security provided by the surety and retained by the
Court would be released or refunded to the surety upon the conclusion of the
case if there are no forfeiture proceedings.
savings passbook or fixed deposit slip was used for purpose of bail, the
State Courts will inform the bank, generally within 21 working days upon
conclusion of the case, to
remove the earmark placed against the bond amount in the account, if
there are no forfeiture proceedings.
If cash was used for the bail, the bail sum would be
directly refunded to the surety by the Account-General by way of crediting
directly into the surety’s bank account (furnished by the surety at the point
of standing bail). The State Courts will refund the cash bail, generally within
21 working days upon conclusion of the case, if there are no forfeiture
Can I discharge myself as a surety?
The surety may at any time apply to be discharged from his responsibilities if he/she no longer wishes to stand as surety. The application may be made in court when the matter is next mentioned. A surety may also make a written application to the Court for the matter to be fixed for mention to enable him/her to make the necessary application. He/she must bring the accused to Court on the mention date given. Upon the discharge of the surety, the accused would be remanded until another surety is found.
When may a statutory declaration be required?
Where an accused is required to surrender his/her passport as a condition of bail but he/she is unable to produce his passport, he/she may be asked to make a statutory declaration stating the reasons for his/her inability to do so.
How do I make a statutory declaration?
A statutory declaration has to be in a prescribed form as provided in the First Schedule to the Oaths and Declarations Act (Chapter 211). The form is available on request at the Bail Centre (State Courts Tower, Level 4). The statutory declaration is to be made before a Commissioner for Oaths.
What is the effect of a statutory declaration?
It is a criminal offence to make a false statement in a statutory declaration, where one knows or has reason to believe the statement is false or does not believe it to be true. Where the person has made the false statement in a statutory declaration for use in any stage of a judicial proceeding, he/she shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 7 years and shall also be liable to a fine.
How do I apply for permission to leave the country?
Step 1: Apply for permission to leave the country
An accused person who is on bail has to apply for the Court's permission to leave Singapore.
The accused person can do so by making a formal application in writing. The application must state clearly the particulars, mention/PTC/trial date(s), court at which the matter is fixed, duration of trip, destination and purpose of the trip. The application must be addressed and mailed to: The Registrar, State Courts, 1 Havelock Square, Singapore 059724.
Step 2: Court considers the application
Once the application is made, it will be referred to the relevant Judge for his/her consideration.
Step 3: Notification to accused
If the Judge agrees to hear the application, the accused person will be notified in writing of the date and time for mention in court.
If the application is not approved, the accused person will also be notified in writing that he/she is not allowed to leave Singapore.
Step 4: Case is mentioned in Court
On the date of the mention in court, the accused person and the surety/sureties must be present and the accused person must state the reason(s) for the application. The accused person must inform the Court of the intended destination(s) as well as the expected departure and return dates. The surety/sureties must also give his/her consent before the Court considers the application.
The prosecution will have the opportunity to state its position on the application.
After hearing both sides, the Court may either refuse permission or grant it subject to certain conditions. If the application is approved, the relevant endorsement will be made.