- It can be a criminal offence not to cooperate with the police
- It is a crime in Canada to obstruct a public officer or peace officer, other wise known as the police, while they are in acting in the capacity of their duty.
- It is also possible to be charged with a criminal offence for obstructing any person who is deemed to be lawfully aiding a police officer in their duty
Section 129 of the Criminal Code:
Every one who
(a) resists or wilfully obstructs a public officer or peace officer in the execution of his duty or any person lawfully acting in aid of such an officer,
(b) omits, without reasonable excuse, to assist a public officer or peace officer in the execution of his duty in arresting a person or in preserving the peace, after having reasonable notice that he is required to do so, or
(c) resists or wilfully obstructs any person in the lawful execution of a process against lands or goods or in making a lawful distress or seizure,
is guilty of
(d) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or
(e) an offence punishable on summary conviction.
- In order for the Crown attorny to prove that an accused person is guilty of obstruction of a peace officer in execution of duty under s. 129(a) they must prove
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- The identity of the accused as culprit
- The date and time of incident
- The complainant was a peace officer or public officer within the meaning of s. 129;
- the accused knew that the complainant was a peace officer;
- the accused resists or wilfully obstructs a public officer” or “any person lawfully acting in aid of such an officer”;
- the peace officer was engaged in lawful duty at all relevant times
- If the officer was undertaking an arrest, there were reasonable grounds to do so and that the arrest was properly made
- the obstruction was willful
- Where the officer is acting outside of his “lawful authority” he cannot be in execution of his duties.
What Does Obstruct Mean?
- “Obstruct” means “to impede; to interpose impediments to the hindrance or frustration of some act or service; such as to obstruct an officer in the execution of his duty”.
- This means the interference with the police officer engaged in his duty.
- Obstruction must involve an act by the accused that causes it to be more difficult for the police to carry out their duties.
- However an act causing mere inconvenience is not enough.
What are examples of obstruction?
- Notifying other people of the presence of the police can be a form of obstruction.
- Destroying or hiding evidence may be obstruction.
There Are Defences Available to You
- For example lack of cooperation can not be cause to be charged with obstruction
- If you have been charged with obstructing a peace officer contact Kostman and Pyzer, Barristers today to find out more about defending your charge.