Bail Act 1997

Evidence of previous criminal record.

4

4. (1) In any proceedings in relation to an application referred to in section 2 (1) , the previous criminal record of the person applying for bail shall not be referred to in a manner which may prejudice his or her right to a fair trial.

(2) In any such proceedings as aforesaid, a court may—

( a) direct that the proceedings shall be heard otherwise than in public, or

( b) exclude from the court during the hearing all persons except officers of the court, persons directly concerned in the proceedings, bona fide representatives of the Press and such other persons if any as the court may permit to remain.

F7 [ (2A) Subsection (2) is without prejudice to the right of

(a) a parent, relative or friend of a person in respect of whom the offence is alleged to have been committed (in this subsection referred to as the relevant person ), or

(b) a support worker chosen by the relevant person,

to remain in court, where the relevant person gives evidence pursuant to section 9A , for the duration of such evidence. ]

(3) In any report of any such proceedings as aforesaid, no information relating to the criminal record of the person applying for bail shall be published in a written publication available to the public or be broadcast.

(4) If any matter is published or broadcast in contravention of subsection (3), the following persons, namely—

( a) in the case of a publication in a newspaper or periodical, any proprietor, any editor and any publisher of the newspaper or periodical,

( b) in the case of any other publication, the person who publishes it, and

( c) in the case of a broadcast, any person who transmits or provides the programme in which the broadcast is made and any person having functions in relation to the programme corresponding to those of the editor of a newspaper,

shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable—

(i) on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £1,500 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both, or

(ii) on conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding £10,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or to both.

(5) In this section—

a broadcast” means the transmission, relaying or distribution by wireless telegraphy of communications, sounds, signs, visual images or signals intended for direct reception by the general public whether such communications, sounds, signs, visual images or signals are actually received or not;

F7 [ support worker means a volunteer of, or an individual employed under a contract of service or under a contract for services by, an organisation which provides support to victims of crime. ]

written publication” includes a film, a sound track and any other record in permanent form (including a record that is not in a legible form but which is capable of being reproduced in a legible form) but does not include an indictment or other document prepared for use in particular legal proceedings.

(6) Where an offence under this section has been committed by a body corporate and is proved to have been committed with the consent or connivance of or to be attributable to any neglect on the part of a person being a director, manager, secretary or other officer of the body corporate, or a person who was purporting to act in any such capacity, that person as well as the body corporate shall be guilty of an offence and be liable to be proceeded against and punished as if he or she were guilty of the first-mentioned offence.

(7) Where the affairs of a body corporate are managed by its members, subsection (6) shall apply in relation to the acts and defaults of a member in connection with his or her functions of management as if he or she were a director or manager of the body corporate.