by | Dec 17, 2014

Here are some things you should know about bail which may be issued by the Police (and other enforcement agencies) or the Court:

What is bail?

  • Bail is a sum of money that is provided as security to obtain the release of the suspect or accused from the custody of the Police or the Court during the conduct of criminal proceedings on the understanding that he will present himself before Police or the Court whenever required.
  • Bail can be offered in the following situations:
    1. Police Bail, which is granted to a suspect during investigations or when he is charged by an enforcement agency such as the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB), Commercial Affairs Department (CAD), Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) and Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA).
    2. Court bail, which is granted to an accused person during the conduct of a criminal case in Court.
  • The bailor or surety is the person who promises and undertakes to pay the specified sum of money if the suspect or accused fails to appear before the Police or Court. More than one surety may be required if the bail required is of a large amount.
    1. There are some situations where the Police may allow a suspect to pay for his own security by making a personal bond or undertaking by himself by without the need for a separate bailor.
    2. An accused person in criminal proceedings cannot be his own bailor unless the Court otherwise allows.
  • After bail has been granted to a suspect or accused person, he may only leave Singapore with the permission of the Police or the Court:
    1. Both the bailor and the accused must be present if and when an application is made to the Court for permission to leave jurisdiction
    2. The Court will generally increase the bail amount as a condition of allowing the accused to leave jurisdiction
  • If the suspect or accused person fails to present himself as and when required, a Warrant of Arrest may be issued against him. Where Court bail has been granted, the bailor will also have to attend a hearing to give reasons to the Court why the full amount of the bail should not be forfeited.

Who can be a surety or bailor?

  • A bailor must generally satisfy the following criteria:
    1. He must be at least 21 years old
    2. He must not be an undischarged bankrupt
    3. He must not have an ongoing or pending criminal case in Court
    4. He must be a Singapore Citizen or a Singapore Permanent Resident
    5. He must be prepared to accept the responsibilities of a bailor until the case is concluded
    6. He must be prepared to pledge security (either in cash or in personal properties) for the amount of bail

What additional conditions can be imposed?

  • The Court or agency offering bail may impose additional conditions to secure and compel the attendance of the accused person or suspect, such as:
    1. The passport of the accused person or suspect must be surrendered
    2. The accused must abide by a curfew or time-restriction
    3. The accused must report to the Investigating Officer (IO) on specified date / times
    4. The bail amount must be provided by more than one bailor
    5. The bail amount must include a specified amount of cash (as opposed to assets or properties)
    6. The bailor must be a Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident

What are a bailor’s responsibilities?

  • The bailor’s main responsibility is to ensure that the accused person or suspect attends before the Court (or Police) whenever required until the conclusion of the case (or investigations).
  • The bailor is liable to forfeit the full amount of bail if the accused person or suspect fails to attend before the Court or Police when required or if he fails to comply with any of the conditions of bail.

What can be used as security for bail?

  • Security for bail can be provided or pledged in the following ways:
    1. Cash
    2. Monies in the bailor’s bank savings account. If these monies are used, the bailor must ensure that no deductions will be made from that account because the bank will be notified to freeze the bank account or funds and the bailor will not be able to use the account or funds during the remaining period of bail.
    3. Cashier’s Order
    4. NETS payment through the bailor’s ATM card and bank account and subject to his daily maximum withdrawal limit
      Pledging the bailor’s personal properties for a bail amount of up to $15,000
    5. Fixed Deposit or Time Deposit from the bailor’s bank account, provided the funds are not already being used as a form of security for another purpose
  • The monies and properties pledged by the bailor must belong to the bailor and not the accused person or suspect.
  • The bailor can only use a bank account for which he is the sole account older i.e. a joint account can only be used as security if both account holders are bailors.

If you would like to understand more about Criminal Law in Singapore how the issues discussed in this article may affect you, contact Singapore Criminal Defence Lawyer Jonathan Wong at [email protected] or +65 8886 0278 today.
About the author

About the author

Jonathan Wong

Jonathan is the Founder and Managing Director of Tembusu Law. He is also the founder of LawGuide Singapore, a prominent legaltech startup which successfully created and launched Singapore’s first legal chatbot in 2017.