Bail is a form a security furnished by a guarantor (the ‘bailor’ or ‘surety’) who undertakes the obligation to ensure that the arrested or accused person turns up before the Courts or investigating agencies when required to do so. Bail may be furnished in the form of a cash deposit or personal property items where the bail sum does not exceed SGD$15,000.
Instead of bail, a police officer or the Court may in some circumstances release you on a personal bond. Your bailor or surety must usually be a Singaporean.
- You may be offered bail by the police or any of the law enforcement agencies (known as ‘police bail’) after your initial arrest but before you are formally charged in Court. This is often because you may be needed back at the station for investigation purposes.
- After being formally charged in Court, the Court may offer a fresh ‘court bail’ or extend the existing police bail until the next mention of the case. Subject to the Court’s discretion, bail may be extended at each hearing if the matter is adjourned to a subsequent mention.
- At the State Courts, bail applications are processed by the Bail Centre at The Crime Registry located on the ground floor of the State Courts building.
- Bail is not granted for offences punishable with death or imprisonment for life.
- Otherwise, most offences are bailable. However, the Prosecution may object to bail if the accused person is a flight risk or if he has previously breached the terms of his bail.
- Foreigners are usually considered a flight risk and bail may come with strict conditions (such as impounding of passports)
- Persons on bail are not allowed to leave Singapore unless they have permission from the Court (for Court bail) or from the investigating officer or the relevant law enforcement agency (for Police bail). The bailor’s consent will also be required.
- The investigating officer or Court may also require the arrested person to surrender his passport.
- A person on bail should also refrain from committing any offences while on bail or a personal bond and report for investigations, to Court or to custody as required.
- Committing an offence whilst on bail increases the chances of being charged and this will also be told to the Judge. It may impact on whether bail should be offered and the sentence the person eventually receives.
- The quantum of bail to be offered will be determined by the police for Police bail and by the Court for Court bail. In Court, you (or your lawyer) may propose the bail amount. The other party may accept or counter-propose an amount. Where the parties are not in agreement, the Court will hear arguments from the parties and make a decision on the bail amount.
- The State Court’s website gives some guidance on factors that may be considered in setting such amount such as the gravity of the offence the person has been charged with, the severity of punishment which the person may be liable for, the character and financial means of the person as well as whether he/she has any prior convictions.
- You may appeal to the High Court to review your Court bail. However, there is no avenue for review of Police bail.
- In non-serious offences, bail is usually less than $15,000.00 to allow the person to be bailed by just an IC guarantee (without actual cash).
- A Warrant of Arrest may be issued against you if you fail to report to Court or your investigating officer as required.
- The bail amount may be forfeited unless the bailor can show sufficient cause why he/she should not be ordered to do so. This would be a show cause session for the bailor in Court.
- The bailor must ensure that you surrender to custody, are present for investigations at the respective law enforcement agency or are present in Court as you are required to do so.
- Where the bailor wishes to withdraw as surety before the completion of the case, he must apply to the respective enforcement agency that has offered bail. If the case has already been mentioned in Court, the bailor must appear before the Court together with you to make an application to discharge himself.
- You will then be remanded in prison until you secure a substitute bailor.
- The bailor is free from his duties when the case has concluded. This happens where the law enforcement agency does not proceed with prosecution after investigations or, where the Court has delivered its verdict as to whether you are “acquitted” or “convicted” and sentenced.
- The cash deposit or personal property used as bail will be returned to the bailor.