We believe each person’s circumstances, such as mental and physical disability, poverty, or homelessness, should be taken into consideration when a court makes a decision to convict someone of bail offences.
We have been granted leave to intervene in the R. v Zora case, as it has the potential to impact the civil liberties of any Canadian released on bail. Canada’s bail system must uphold, rather than undermine, fundamental rights, public safety and the administration of justice.
Mr. Zora was charged with several offences and granted bail, on the condition he obey a curfew and be at his front door within 5 minutes of a police officer or bail supervisor coming to his home.
On two occasions, Mr. Zora did not appear at his front door when the police went to his house and was charged with breaching his bail conditions. Mr. Zora stated that he did not hear the doorbell or knocks at his door and did not intend to breach his bail conditions. Nevertheless, the court found him guilty of breaching his bail conditions, as he did not have a lawful excuse for failing to answer his front door.
CCLA, through our Bail Report, has examined the cycle of detention, restrictive release and re-arrest. The Report concluded that individuals released on bail are often subject to disproportionate, unnecessary and onerous conditions of release that may be virtually impossible for an accused to comply with.
The case is going to be heard at the Supreme Court of Canada.
CCLA is grateful for the representation provided by Danielle Glatt from Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein LLP.