Indemnifying Surety

In Victoria, the offence of Indemnifying a Surety is in section 31 of the Bail Act 1977, and is where a person on bail pays their surety back the amount they paid to secure the accused’s bail. It is common for both the person on bail and the surety to be charged with this offence.

Do the Police want to speak with you because they accuse you of Indemnifying a Surety? The Police may make an application at Court to revoke your bail if they accuse you of Indemnifying a Surety.
Indemnifying Surety
Our experienced lawyers can represent you in Court to oppose an application by Police to revoke your bail.

Police interview
Before you speak with the Police about an allegation of Indemnifying a Surety, you should contact one of our lawyers. You will have important questions such as:

  • Should I avoid the Police?
  • Should I deny the allegations?
  • Will I be remanded into custody?
Our lawyers can speak with the Police about their intention to revoke bail.

Our lawyers can also prepare your case ready to re-apply for bail.

Pleading not guilty
If you deny the charge of Indemnifying a Surety, you should speak with one our lawyers. There may be evidence which helps your defence that must be gathered and preserved.

Pleading guilty
If you decide to plead guilty to Indemnifying a Surety, it is best that you wait for the outcome of the substantive charges for which you are on bail. If you are found guilty of the substantive charges, you should conduct one plea in mitigation for all charges to receive an aggregate penalty that takes all charges into account.

Our experienced lawyers can assist you in developing a plea strategy for all charges.

Which court will the case be heard in?
This offence would normally be heard in the Magistrates’ Court.

Examples of Indemnifying Surety
  • A man is charged with a serious crime and has bail set at $1 million. He gets someone else to pay for his bail, and arranges for $1 million to be paid to them.
What is the legal definition of Indemnifying Surety?
The Prosecution must show that the accused offered to cover the costs for another person to act as a surety.

The section that covers this offence is section 31 of the Bail Act 1977.1

Elements of the offence
The Prosecution must prove the following elements for an accused to be found guilty of this offence:

  • The accused indemnified another person (P) against any liability; or
  • The accused agreed with another person to indemnify that other person (P) against any liability; and
  • The said liability may be incurred by that other person (P) as a surety to secure the attendance in answer to bail and the surrender to custody of a person accused, or convicted of, or under arrest for an offence.
  • You did not intend to indemnify the defendant against liability.
There are other possible defences, depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offending. Each matter is unique and requires an individual approach and strategy.

Questions in cases like this
  • Were you aware the other person was a surety?
  • Did you intend to indemnify a person against any liability they may incur as a surety?
“Can the Prosecution prove that you intended to indemnify the accused?”

Maximum penalty for section 31 of the Bail Act 1977
The maximum penalty for Indemnifying Surety (s31 of the Bail Act 1977) is a fine of 15 penalty units or imprisonment for three months.

If found guilty of this offence and the person does not answer bail, you may receive a jail term.

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