R v Sidhu, 2020 ABCA 418
On November 20, 2020, the Alberta Court of Appeal in Edmonton released a bail decision in the case R v Sidhu, in which the accused was convicted at trial of criminal harassment.
The accused was self-represented at this bail hearing, in which he applied for a relaxation of his bail conditions pending appeal, and this decision is a good example of why it’s important to hire legal counsel, such as the Alberta Bail Office, who can provide procedural advice upfront.
In this case, the Court of Appeal makes it clear in their decision that the accused took all the wrong steps in attempting to get what he wanted. The Court wrote that “[a]t the application hearing, Mr. Sidhu abandoned his application to suspend his probation order. He properly recognized that in light of his extant conviction and sentence appeal, this application was entirely premature.”
This is another way of saying that the accused spent a great deal of personal time, anxiety, and frustration attending at the Court of Appeal in person to ask the Court for something – in this case permission not to attend at probation – only to be told that his application had no hope of succeeding.
The accused then changed his request during the oral hearing to something that he thought might be more reasonable – a relaxation of his reporting conditions from every two weeks to every two months. The Court of Appeal was quick to dismiss this second request, because even though it was more reasonable, the accused didn’t have the legal know-how to argue it persuasively: (i) he raised no evidence to support his request, (ii) he didn’t discuss how his request met the relevant legal test for a condition change, and (iii) the requirement in the accused’s bail conditions that he report to probation already allowed the accused to report less frequently, if the probation officer agreed.
Don’t waste your time, the court’s patience, or your limited chances to get the result you’re looking for by trying to handle your own bail, or even “minor” issues like getting a condition changed. Hire a lawyer from the Alberta Bail Office to help.