Review: Road Traffic Offences

DOI10.1177/002201836603000212
Publication Date01 Apr 1966
SubjectReview
REVIEWS
The
raising of bail is in itself a subject of interest. We are told
that
the
practice in Toronto is for the magistrates in court to set bail at a fixed amount
without specifying whether one or more sureties are required or whether
the
bail should be raised in the form of cash or real property.
The
justices of the
peace who are delegated to accept the bail are not concerned with whether
the cash is
put
up by the accused or a surety or whether asurety puts up
cash or real property; the option is with the accused.
The
author gives a "scale" of the average amounts of bail
required-
breaking and entering 1,000 dollars; assault 100; rape 5,000; armed robbery
10,000.
It
is not surprising to read that of 1,170 cases in which bail was set
only 441 were able to raise the bail.
The
major difference between the English and Canadian practices is
that in England security in advance is not required and the Home Office
Study
"Time
spent awaiting Trial" shows that over a period only I
per
cent
of persons granted bail by a court failed to find it.
Two
main criticisms of the Canadian system
emerge-the
setting of bail
at standardized amounts without regard to the likelihood of the accused
standing his trial, and the requirement for security in advance.
An evil that has followed in the wake of the bail system is the existence
of professional bondsmen, who either
put
up the required security for a fee
usually about 15 per cent of the
sum
involved, or who lend money to an
accused person or his surety for bail, again at a rate of 15 per cent, i.e. 15
per cent for the time the bail operates.
Thus
a 500 dollar bail will attract a
75 dollar fee.
The
bondsman subsequently recovers his 500 dollars from the
Town
Hall.
This,
apparently, is blatantly illegal
but
the system operates widely.
The
risk taken by the bondsman is that the accused will not
turn
up, when
the
bondsman loses his
money-this
prospect will not frighten an unscrupulous
defendant and thus the system can actually encourage the absconding of many
prisoners.
Much
more could be written about this fascinating book. Certainly, the
author has presented apowerful case for the reviewing of. present practices
of arrest and bail, and it is pleasing to read his commendation of corresponding
English systems.
ROAD
TRAFFIC
OFFENCES,
by G. S. Wilkinson, London. Oyez
Pub-
lications 65s.
This
is
the
5th
edition of Mr. Wilkinson's book to appear since
it
made
its bow in 1953 and
that
alone illustrates how valuable
it
has become to users.
It
is, indeed,
the
only book of its kind. Only the other day a Judge in the
High
Court referred to "Wilkinson" as one would refer to Archbold, Stone
or Paterson, those other indispensable handbooks of the criminal lawyer.
The
new edition follows the pattern of the earlier ones and contains a
statement of the law as at 14th October, 1965, with a few later cases included
for good measure in
the
Preface.
Perhaps one of the most valuable chapters in the book is that headed
"Definitions".
It
contains far more
than
mere definitions and is in fact a
mine of information enabling one to decide, for example, whether ayouth
pushing amotor-cycle needs a driving licence, or whether adriver attacked
by a swarm of bees is driving dangerously.

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