The facts of the given case is that the accused Phil Jones had been charged in accordance to s.18 Offences Against the Person Act 1861 since he had caused grievous hurt to a person having struck him a number of times with force that led to the victim being unconscious and had to be admitted in the intensive care of a hospital. There are four witnesses who have seen the accused aggressively harm the victim and have also stated that there was animosity between the accused and the victim. Further the accused had been granted bail which is subject to some conditions according to which he would not be allowed to visit public houses or be permitted to contact the witnesses.
However it should be noted that in this case the presumption for bail does not allow. In accordance to the section under which he has been accused to be guilty section 18 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 states that any person who unlawfully or cruelly through any medium causes any grievous harm to the body of any person or does such act intentionally for resisting or preventing the legal anxiety of any person, such a person would be considered as guilty of felony and if convicted would face imprisonment for life.
In the given case, the facts of the case suggest that the accused had forcefully struck the victim repeatedly and also there were substantial claims of the aggressive behavior of the accused and the animosity between the victim and the accused.
According to the amendments of the Bail Act, the prosecution presently has the right to appeal against the grant of any bail. According to the rules of the act the appeal can be dealt with even in the absence of the one who appeals. It is the lawyers who would, according to their convenience apply to the clients and be present for the appeals. Under such cases where the offense is punishable for a period of more than five years and or if such offense is one that is given under the sections of 12 and 12A of the Theft Act, then the prosecutor is given the right o appeal against the bail that has been granted. In this regard a case may be mentioned. In the case of Lee and Lee , the fact was that the defendant who was previously charged with murder had been later accused of offense under section 18 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. Presently the magistrates are to keep in mind that the offenses which are committed even if the accused is on bail the fact would be considered as an infuriating element and the entire sentencing would be done keeping in mind the offending behavior. These cases are further advised to be moved to the Crown Court.
Additionally, in this regard the Part 1 Schedule 1 Bail Act 1976 needs to be mentioned. Accordingly, the provisions state that under some of the given circumstances accused cannot be granted bail. It the defendant does not surrender to the custody or when he is on bail commits another offense or interferes with the witness which in turn may restrict the proper course of justice. Further, the accused may also not be given bail he is accused of such an offense that is indictable or trial can take place in either manner or if it appears that on the day of the offense he was on bail. Para 9 of Part 1 of Schedule 1 of the Bail Act, 1976 states that while granting bail the court must keep in mind the following conditions. Firstly the seriousness of the offense must be considered while granting bail. Secondly, the character, the ties, the association and the community ties should be considered while giving bail to the accused. Thirdly, the record of the accused with regard to the fulfillment of duties when he was previously granted bail in criminal proceedings must be taken into account. And finally the evidences available against the defendant with regard to the offense committed must be considered while deciding on this issue.
Hence in according to these conditions it must be noted that the accused in the given case does not have good records with regard to the grant of bail. Considering his previous convictions the accused Jones had failed to surrender to bail in the last few years. Additionally it must also be noted that he had previously been convicted of other offenses such as assault and public order offenses. Therefore in this regard the record of the accused of his previous criminal proceedings is not good. However, in this regard a case may be mentioned. In the case of Matznetter v Austria (1969 ECHR) which was regarding a remand in custody on the apprehension that further offenses may be committed. The Court of Human Rights had stated that this particular cannot be justified under all circumstances when the prior offenses cannot be compared to that of the present offense based on the seriousness or the nature of the offense committed. It was mentioned that English Court applying the Bail Act of 1976 probably would have arrived at the same conclusion as the European Court of Human Rights.
Further, considering the seriousness of the offense, in this case, it can be observed that offense committed is under section 18 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 which does fall under serious offenses and considering the number of witnesses against the accused this factor also must be considered. Therefore based on these two factors the defendant should not be granted bail.
Also, if bail is granted to the defendant there might be chances that he may fail to surrender as he had previously done in case of his previous convictions. Secondly he may also commit further offenses during the period when he is on bail and finally he may also try to interfere with the witnesses of the prosecution.
In this regard the Criminal Justice Act 2003 needs to be mentioned since it had introduced a number of modifications with regard to the charging of the offenders. The law states whether a particular accused will be granted bail or not depends on the conditions mentioned above and also on the decision of the Crown Prosecution Service. Conditions such as the failure to surrender or the chances to commit more offenses or interfere with the witnesses any result in the refusal to grant bail to the accused.
Therefore, with regard to the given case, the above factors are extremely crucial for granting bail to the accused. In accordance to the Bail Act 1976, the Criminal Justice Act 2003 and the other relevant provisions clearly state that any accused cannot be granted bail if the given conditions under the laws for the grant of bail are not met. In this case too, the provision given under Para 9 of Part 1 of Schedule 1 of the Bail Act, 1976 are not met entirely and based on those grounds the accused should not be granted bail. Further considering the factors mentioned in the Criminal Justice Act, 2003 also are relevant and accordingly the grant of bail to the accused in this case would result in injustice.
Government of UK Legislation, 'Criminal Justice Act 2003' (2015) <https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/44/pdfs/ukpga_20030044_en.pdf> accessed 22 March 2015
Hannibal M and Mountford L, Criminal Litigation Handbook 2014-2015 (Oxford University Press 2015)
Johnston D and Hutton G, Blackstone's Police Manual. Vol.2 (Oxford University Press 2004)
Legislation.gov.uk, 'Offences Against The Person Act 1861' (2015) <https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Vict/24-25/100/section/18> accessed 22 March 2015
Legislation.gov.uk, 'Bail Act 1976' (2015) <https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1976/63/schedule/1> accessed 22 March 2015
Scheffer T, Hannken-Illjes K and Kozin A, Criminal Defence And Procedure (Palgrave Macmillan 2010)
Lee and Lee  Crim LR
Matznetter v Austria  ECHR
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