The Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch is concerned about the current public discourse that unfairly blames judges and prosecutors for releasing offenders back into the community on bail. Politicians from all parties have attempted to blame others for a difficult problem – addressing individuals with complex social problems who are accused, but not yet convicted, of crimes.
Judges make bail decisions by applying the Criminal Code of Canada and its interpretations from the Supreme Court of Canada. The law presumes innocence until guilt is proven and favours release on bail pending trial, not incarceration pending a hearing. Judges do not make decisions based on popular or personal opinion nor on the directions of government.
Prosecutors are also independent of political influence. They look at the law, the facts and circumstances of the offence and make a recommendation to the judge. The people who are accused also have a lawyer. The concern for public safety is one of the important factors to consider.
To maintain trust in the judicial system, the public must have confidence that decisions are made fairly. The independence of judges and lawyers is fundamental to that trust.
The Canadian Bar Association is the professional organization representing more than 36,000 lawyers, judges and law students across Canada with over 7,600 members in British Columbia. CBABC members practice at the forefront of the justice system, providing services to British Columbians in every area of law. CBABC is located on the traditional and unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples, including the Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish and Musqueam First Nations.
Jo Brayshaw, Communications & Marketing Manager