Judicial interim release (bail) : a study of decision-making in the Winnipeg Provincial Judges Court
Ting, Seng Shuow.
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This thesis attempted to ascertain whether discriminatory practices prevail in the administration of pretrial release decison after the Bail Reform Act of 1972 in Winnipeg Provincial Judges Docket Court. Consequently, this research focused on two pretrial release decisions: (1) types of release condition, ordered according to restrictiveness from release on undertaking to release on own recognizance; and (2) if surety is requested, the amount of surety requested from those for whom a surety is the release condition. In addressing the issue of pretrial release decision, the conflict theoretical perspective was adopted. The study analyzed data of offenders charged with either indictable or summary offences in the Criminal Code of Canada. A nonrandom sample of 435 cases from the two courts at the Public Safety Building was used for the analysis. The data of these cases were obtained from the files kept in the Police Court Unit department. Treating statutory laws as defining the category of legal variables, this study found that legal factors - prior conviction and seriousness of the offences - substantially affect decisions on the types of pretrial release. Number of Charges was found not to be significantly related to pretrial release decisions. Factors not prescribed in statutory, that is extra-legal variables - sex, race and socioeconomic status - were found to have minimal impact on pretrial release decisions. The main conclusion that can be drawn from this study is that, by and large, in this phase of the criminal justice process discriminatory practices were not found. In addition, findings from regression analyses showed that support for the conflict in this particular instance is weak.