Five myths about electronic monitoring and bail

by Peter Marshall

Five myths about electronic monitoring and bail

by Peter Marshall

by Peter Marshall

Electronic monitoring has become a common consideration during bail hearings, but there are still some misconceptions about its use.

Myth 1​: Electronic monitoring is only available through government-run programs.

There is now abundant case law applicable across Canada establishing that accused persons can take the initiative to propose, as part of their bail plan, that they be subject to a privately operated electronic monitoring program like the GPS and alcohol monitoring programs developed by Recovery Science Corporation.

As an example, in a recent application for bail pending appeal of a first-degree murder conviction, Justice Gary T. Trotter of the Ontario Court of Appeal, wrote, “… many Ontario judges have relied upon Recovery Science Corporation to assume this important role. In this case, I too am prepared to do so, and consider it to be a significant element of the release plan.”

Myth 2​: ​The effectiveness of electronic monitoring is limited because it cannot prevent violations.

While older cases focused on electronic monitoring’s inability to prevent violations or guarantee immediate police response, courts now recognize that imposing those extreme standards was not consistent with the principles of the law of bail. Courts now accept that monitoring has a deterrent effect and a risk-management value that can help a plan of supervision meet the applicable tests on the primary, secondary and/or tertiary grounds.

Myth 3​: Private electronic monitoring programs are not available where you are.

Recovery Science’s programs are available across Canada and have helped over 750 accused persons obtain pre-trial release, either with the Crown’s consent or after a contested hearing.

Myth 4​: Advising clients facing pre-trial detention about electronic monitoring options is straightforward and there is not much case law about it.

Private electronic monitoring programs for bail are now well-established and there is a significant body of case law considering when it does and doesn’t make the difference between pre-trial release and detention.

RSC can help lawyers:

  • Assess whether monitoring may be of benefit to their client in obtaining pre-trial release, and/or enabling them to work or attend school.
  • Explain the program to the client, and their sureties, to confirm they understand the requirements and the implications of being monitored.

Myth 5​: Presenting a plan with private electronic monitoring will require a great deal of counsel’s time to research case law and explain the program to the court.

Recovery Science has been involved in well over 1,000 bail hearings and bail reviews. We provide counsel with court-ready written material, make ourselves available to answer questions from the Crown in advance of a hearing, and, if necessary, and we can testify in person or remotely.

We also have an extensive list of cases and can assist counsel in identifying the ones that are most pertinent to the issues in a specific matter.

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