Publishing Evidence Heard During a Bail Application in Breach of a Court Order

– section 7(1) of Bail Act 1977
Man Reading Published Material
It is an offence under section 7(1) of the Bail Act to publish:

  1. information given, or
  2. representations made by the bail decision maker, or
  3. the evidence that is heard during a bail application

— after a Magistrate makes an order prohibiting this.

A magistrate will make such an order if sensitive material which can compromise an accused, a victim, a witness or the Police investigation is raised during a bail application.

Examples of Publishing Evidence Heard During a Bail Application in Breach of a Court Order
  • Publishing the personal details of a victim
  • Publishing the personal details of an accused
  • Publishing the details of a Police investigation
Questions in cases like this
  • Was there an order prohibiting the details of the evidence to be published?
  • Were details of the evidence published?
What are some of the possible defences to Publishing Evidence Heard During a Bail Application in Breach of a Court Order?

As this is a strict liability offence, there are limited defences available. However, the following is a list of some defences:

  1. Factual error
  2. Honest and reasonable mistake as to fact
  3. Impossibility

You should call us to discuss your case with one of our lawyers if you have been charged. Deciding on whether to plead guilty or not has consequences for you and should be made after proper discussion with a criminal lawyer.

Maximum penalty and court that deals with this charge

ImprisonmentThe maximum penalty for this offence is a fine of 15 penalty units ($2,417.85) or imprisonment for three months.

The maximum penalty is normally reserved for the worst example of offending.

What is the legal definition of Publishing Evidence Heard During a Bail Application in Breach of a Court Order?

The Bail Act 1977 (Vic) does not provide a definition of ‘publish’, this means we must look to the ordinary English meaning of the word. The Oxford English dictionary defines ‘publish’ as to make information generally known by writing, announcing, reading or to make available online.1

The general legal definition of ‘publish’ is to communicate information to a third party.2

“Can they prove you published the material?”
Legislation

This offence is governed by section 7(1) of the Bail Act 1977.

Elements of the offence

To prove this charge, the Prosecution must establish the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. a bail application was made in respect of a person (P); and
  2. the prosecutor intended to oppose the bail application and so gave evidence, information, representations, and reasons (if any) to the bail decision maker; and
  3. the accused (A) published the said evidence, information, representations, and reasons (if any) given by the prosecutor to the bail decision maker; and
  4. the publishing was made when a committal proceeding is held — before the person (P) in respect of whom the application is made is discharged; or
  5. the publishing was made when the person (P) in respect of whom the application is made is tried or committed for trial — before the trial is ended

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[1] https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/publish
[2] Ibid.