Prior to a trial a youth or adult accused may be released or held in custody.
Upon arrest, the accused may be given an Appearance Notice if the offence is not very serious. If the accused is taken into custody s/he may be released on signing a Promise to Appear.
If the offence is very serious then the police may decide to hold the accused in custody. The accused must appear in court within 24 hours of the arrest. At this time, the judge or the justice of the peace will decide whether to release the accused back into the community or to have the accused remain in custody until the trial. This decision is based on three factors:
- That the accused will attend the next court date
- That society is protected
- That the accused is protected if s/he is in a suicidal state
If the judge decides not to release the accused than the accused with be remanded into custody. If the accused is a youth, s/he will be sent to a youth detention centre awaiting the disposition of his/her case. An adult accused would be remanded to a pre-trial centre awaiting the disposition of his/her case. Time served prior to conviction receives two for one credit and is subtracted from the length of the sentence.
If the accused is released then financial conditions in the form of money or property may have to be posted (provided) as a condition of release. This is called bail with conditions attached and the purpose is to ensure the appearance of the accused in court. A warrant may be issued for the arrest of the accused if the accused fails to appear. The bail conditions would be enforced and the surety, or money posted, would be forfeited.