What is W.A.S.H. Court?

Weekends And Statutory Holiday (WASH) court is a bail hearing that happens on weekends and statutory holidays, hence the name.

If a person is brought into custody during these times, they still need to be presented in front of a Justice to be remanded (held) in custody pending a full-blown, in-person bail hearing on the next available business day. Prisoners cannot simply stay locked up over a weekend at a police holding facility and the only way into a detention centre (jail) is with a remand warrant or sentence document.

So, instead of holding the person over the weekend, we put them in front of a video conference system that is linked to the Provincial Court that is responsible for 'video remands'. For our area, this is the Newmarket Provincial Court in Newmarket Ontario.

The presiding Justice of the Peace, the crown prosecutor, defence counsel and court clerks are all on the video conference and a quick remand takes place that allows the police to move the prisoner to the local detention centre until their next court date. The next court date is usually the next business day.

The bail hearing takes place as usual and the person is either released from custody (see our FAQ on bail hearings) or held in custody pending another bail hearing or at their own request, unable to meet bail conditions or, on occasion, where no release is granted by the courts.

It is 'possible' to bail someone out or for them to be released on their own recognizance (promise to the courts) over the video appearance. A potential surety must present themselves at the Midland Police Service for 9am where they have to complete an Affidavit of Justification by a Surety and then appear before the court by video conference to affirm the contents. If approved and release is granted, they may have to remain in attendance to enter a recognizance. The alternative is to wait for the in-person bail hearing that will follow on the next business day.

So, if the person was taken into custody on Friday at 4pm, they have missed the window of opportunity to be brought to Barrie Provincial Court (where Midland bail hearings happen). They stay in Midland Police custody until they appear on video on Saturday morning. If no surety is present or the bail court is not ready to do a full bail hearing that day (too many other video remands to do), then the person is remanded into custody and transported to Central North Correctional Centre (Penetang) and held there until transported down to Barrie on Monday (assuming Monday is not a holiday in this case) for an in-person bail hearing.