With the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, and its arrival here in Saskatchewan, many are justifiably focused on taking the necessary healthcare precautions to minimize the risk of both acquiring the virus, and spreading it to others. These concerns are understandably heightened in those environments more conducive to the spread of COVID-19, such as Saskatchewan’s correctional facilities.
The Saskatchewan courts have made clear that COVID-19 is not a get out of jail free card. However, the courts have also recognized that the increased risk of the spread of COVID-19 in correctional facilities, and an individual accused person’s personal health risks and circumstances, may be relevant to whether pre-trial detention is necessary.
In considering whether to grant bail, review an existing pre-trial detention, or grant bail pending an appeal, the Saskatchewan courts require concrete, specific evidence about the health of the individual seeking relief, and specific health-related risks of COVID-19 for that individual. General fears or concerns about COVID-19 in and of themselves will not be sufficient. A solid release plan, with support from family and friends and a plan to deal with the health-related risks of COVID-19, will also be essential.
If you, or a family member or friend, are facing a bail hearing, or are currently being held without bail, and are concerned about the threats posed by COVID-19, please feel free to reach out to one of our team members for more information.
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