What Is A Bail Review?

Where a judge or justice of the peace in the Ontario Court of Justice makes an order that the accused should be detained or released on bail, both the Crown (under section 521) and Defence (under section 520) can apply to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice for a review of the detention or release order. The accused can also seek a review of the court"™s decision regarding bail under section 680 of the Criminal Code.

Not everyone will be granted a bail review hearing. If applying for a review of his or her detention order under section 520 of the Criminal Code, the accused bears the burden to show cause on a balance of probabilities why the existing release order should be vacated. There are only three circumstances were a Superior Court judge can vary a release or detention order on a bail review:

  • Where the justice of the peace or judge made an error in law;
  • Where the decision was inappropriate, such that the presiding judge or justice of the peace "gave excessive weight to one factor or insufficient weight to another factor" ; or
  • Where there has been a material change in circumstances.

At the bail review, a judge will review the transcript of the previous bail hearing, as well as any materials filed, including affidavits of the sureties or the accused. If there is new evidence presented at the bail review, the judge should consider a number of factors, including due diligence, credibility, relevance, and the effect of this evidence on the result. If these criteria are met, the bail review judge is entitled to review the release or detention order as if he were the initial decision maker and make a decision.


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