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Is it a Crime Not to Cooperate With The Police?

You can be charged with a criminal offence for obstructing the police.
You can be charged with a criminal offence for obstructing the police.
  • 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.

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  • 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
  1.    The identity of the accused as culprit
  2.    The date and time of incident
  3.    Jurisdiction 
  4.      The complainant was a peace officer or public officer within the meaning of s. 129;
  5. the accused knew that the complainant was a peace officer;
  6. the accused resists or wilfully obstructs a public officer" or "any person lawfully acting in aid of such an officer";
  7. the peace officer was engaged in lawful duty at all relevant times
    1. If the officer was undertaking an arrest, there were reasonable grounds to do so and that the arrest was properly made
  8. 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.



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