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In some circumstances, a judge may require, as a condition of release of an accused person who is in custody, that the accused person enter into a recognizance (a court ordered of bail), with conditions.

The conditions can range from a simple requirement to return to court on a specific date to conditions as strict as house arrest.

To better assure the compliance of the accused person with the conditions, the court may also require a surety (guarantor) to enter into the recognizance as well.  

The surety will be required to make a financial commitment of cash, or a non cash pledge of land, real estate, or personal property.  


Should the accused person breach the conditions of the recognizance, upon application of the crown attorney, the court may require a surety to forfeit all or part of that financial commitment.

If you are considering becoming a surety, make sure you can trust the accused person to comply with the conditions of the recognizance.  It is better if you are in a position to monitor the day to day activities of the accused person.

If you become aware that the accused person has breached the recognizance, you must report this to the police promptly.  You should then make immediate application to the court to be removed as a surety.  In most cases, that will use a result in a cancellation of the recognizance.

Should you fail to make the report promptly, the crown attorney will have a better case to apply to court to require you to render the security.

Jim O'Neil, LL.B.

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