What is a ‘Show Cause’ Offence?

A ‘Show Cause’ offence is an offence where an accused person must ‘show cause’ why his or her continued detention is not justified. In other words, rather than the prosecution bearing the onus of showing the court that the accused poses an ‘unacceptable risk’ (if released on bail), in ‘Show Cause’ offences, this is an extra hurdle which the defence lawyer must satisfy for why the accused person should be released.

Which offences are covered under the ‘Show Cause’ requirement?  

It should be noted that the following are a list of offences which attract the ‘Show Cause’ requirements per section 16B of the Bail Act 2013:

  • Any offence that carries life imprisonment.
  • Any serious indictable offence committed by an accused who is on bail or parole.
  • Any indictable offence committed while accused is subject to a supervision order, or the offence of failing to comply with a supervision order.
  • Any offence that involves the possession, trafficking, cultivation, sale, manufacture, importation, exportation or supply of a commercial quantity of a serious drug.
  • Any offence that involves the cultivation, supply, possession, manufacture or production of a commercial quantity of a prohibited drug or plant.
  • Any serious indictable offence involving sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 16;
  • Any serious indictable offence involving a weapon.
  • Any indictable offence committed while accused is subject to a supervision order, or the offence of failing to comply with a supervision order.
  • Any serious personal violence offence if the accused has already been convicted of a serious personal violence offence.
  • Attempting to commit, assisting, aiding, abetting, counselling, procuring, soliciting, being an accessory to, encouraging, inciting, or conspiring to commit any of the above offences.

Does the ‘Show Cause’ requirement apply to everyone?

‘Show Cause’ only applies to adult defendants. Anyone who is a juvenile and is charged with a serious offence does not have to ‘show cause’ why he or she should be granted bail.

When was the ‘Show Cause’ concept introduced in NSW?

Show Cause was introduced in 2015 in the state of New South Wales.

Can you explain how the ‘Show Cause’ concept works?

In the event that the defendant appearing before a court appears with respect to a ‘Show Cause offence’ and is seeking to apply for Bail, there is a 2 stage test for Bail Determination.

  • Step number 1; the accused person must ‘Show Cause’ why their detention is not justified. If successful, then the court turns to the next step.
  • Step number 2: Unacceptable Risk Test where the court must assess whether there are any bail concerns or whether appropriate bail conditions can be imposed to mitigate such risk(s).
  • Steph number 3: if the ‘Show Cause’ & ‘Unacceptable Risk Test’ have both been satisfied & met, then the court imposes Bail Conditions.

Can you provide me with examples which the Court considers in determining ‘Show Cause’ with respect to why the person’s continued detention is not justified?

  • Young person, first time in custody
  • Strength of the prosecution case
  • Medical reasons or lack of appropriate Medical treatment in custody.
  • The length of time the accused person would spend in custody awaiting trial if they were refused bail.
  • The person needs his or her liberty to prepare their defence case, care for their family and maintain their employment/business.
  • If the person was to be found guilty of the subject offence that there would be alternatives to Full Time Custody in the sentencing exercise or even the time which the person may spend in custody awaiting trial could exceed the actual sentence imposed.

It is very important that you speak with a lawyer so that you can get the appropriate legal advice which you require prior to going to court.

Our team of experienced solicitors are there for you and can help you answer all your questions, so be sure to contact Nicopoulos Sabbagh Lawyers.

*This article correctly reflects the Laws of NSW as at 4th July 2022.

*Please note that this page or any other pages on our website (including any other social media platforms for Nicopoulos Sabbagh Lawyers) are not to be considered as a substitute for legal advice or even other professional advice. It should also be noted that accessing of this information from this website does not create a client-lawyer relationship.

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