Cash bails cannot be demanded of accused except in the limited circumstances outlined in the Criminal Code, the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled in a case which saw an Ontario man required to put up a cash bail in addition to a surety.
In Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada v. Kevin Antic , the Supreme Court allowed the Crown’s appeal and affirmed s. 515(2) of the code, which a bail review judge of the Superior Court of Justice had struck down as unconstitutional. That section of the code permits a justice of the peace or judge to require both a cash deposit and surety supervision only if the accused is not ordinarily resident of the charging jurisdiction, or lives more than 200 kilometres away. Kevin Antic, who was arrested and charged with drug and firearms offences, did not meet that criteria, yet was still required to put up a cash bail.
“The right not to be denied reasonable bail without just cause is an essential element of an enlightened criminal justice system,” Justice Richard Wagner wrote in a unanimous decision. “It entrenches the effect of the presumption of innocence at the pre-trial stage of the criminal trial process and safeguards the liberty of accused persons.”