Intimidation (Offence)

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Intimidation
s. 423 of the Crim. Code
Election / Plea
Crown Election Hybrid
summary proceedings must initiate within 6 months of the offence (786(2))
Jurisdiction Prov. Court

Sup. Court w/ Jury (*)
Sup. Court w/ Judge-alone (*)

* Must be indictable. Preliminary inquiry also available.
Types of Release Release by Officer, Officer-in-charge, or Judge
Summary Dispositions
Avail. Disp. Discharge (730)

Suspended Sentence (731(1)(a))
Fine (734)
Fine + Probation (731(1)(b))
Jail (718.3, 787)
Jail + Probation (731(1)(b))
Jail + Fine (734)

Conditional Sentence (742.1)
Minimum None
Maximum same as summary
Indictable Dispositions
Avail. Disp. same as summary
Minimum None
Maximum 5 years incarceration
Reference
Offence Elements
Sentence Digests

Overview

Offences relating to intimidation are found in Part X of the Criminal Code relating to "Fraudulent Transactions Relating to Contracts and Trade".

Pleadings

Offence
Section
Offence
Type
Crown Election Defence Election
s. 536(2)
s. 423 [intimidation] Hybrid Offence(s) Yes Yes, if Crown proceeds by Indictment

Offences under s. 423 are hybrid with a Crown election. If prosecuted by indictment, there is a Defence election of Court under s. 536(2).

Release
When charged under s. 423, the accused can be given an attendance notice without arrest under s. 496 or a summons. If arrested, he can be released by the arresting officer under s. 497 on a attendance notice or by an officer-in-charge under s. 498 on a promise to appear or recognizance. He can also be released by a justice under s. 515.

If police decide to bring the accused before a Justice pursuant to s. 503, there will be a presumption against bail (i.e. a reverse onus) if the offence, prosecuted by indictment, was committed:

  • while at large under s. 515 [bail release], 679 or 680 [release pending appeal or review of appeal] (s. 515(6)(a)(i));
  • "for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association" with a criminal organization (s. 515(6)(a)(ii));
  • where the offence involved a firearm, cross-bow, prohibited weapon restricted weapon, prohibited device, ammunition, prohibited ammunition or explosive substance, while the accused was subject to a prohibition order preventing possession of these items (s. 515(6)(a)(viii)); or
  • where the accused is not "ordinarily a resident in Canada" (s. 515(6)(b)).

Publication Bans
For all offences there is a discretionary general publication ban available on application of the Crown, victim or witness to prohibit the publishing of "any information that could identify the victim or witness" under s. 486.5(1) where it is "necessary" for the "proper administration of justice". Other available publication bans include prohibitions for publishing evidence or other information arising from a bail hearing (s. 517), preliminary inquiry (s. 539) or jury trial (s. 648). There is a mandatory publication ban in all youth prosecutions on information tending to identify young accused under s. 110 of the YCJA or young victims under s. 111 of the YCJA.

Offence Designations
See below in Ancillary Sentencing Orders for details on designations relating to sentencing orders.

Offence Wording

Intimidation
423. (1) Every one is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years or is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction who, wrongfully and without lawful authority, for the purpose of compelling another person to abstain from doing anything that he or she has a lawful right to do, or to do anything that he or she has a lawful right to abstain from doing,

(a) uses violence or threats of violence to that person or his or her spouse or common-law partner or children, or injures his or her property;
(b) intimidates or attempts to intimidate that person or a relative of that person by threats that, in Canada or elsewhere, violence or other injury will be done to or punishment inflicted on him or her or a relative of his or hers, or that the property of any of them will be damaged;
(c) persistently follows that person;
(d) hides any tools, clothes or other property owned or used by that person, or deprives him or her of them or hinders him or her in the use of them;
(e) with one or more other persons, follows that person, in a disorderly manner, on a highway;
(f) besets or watches the place where that person resides, works, carries on business or happens to be; or
(g) blocks or obstructs a highway.

Exception
(2) A person who attends at or near or approaches a dwelling-house or place, for the purpose only of obtaining or communicating information, does not watch or beset within the meaning of this section.
R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 423; 2000, c. 12, s. 95; 2001, c. 32, s. 10.


CCC

Proof of the Offence

Proving intimidation under s. 423 should include:

  1. identity of accused as culprit
  2. date and time of incident
  3. jurisdiction (incl. region and province)
  4. the culprit does one of the following to a person:
    1. uses violence or threats of violence to that person or his or her spouse or common-law partner or children, or injures his or her property;
    2. intimidates or attempts to intimidate that person or a relative of that person by threats that, in Canada or elsewhere, violence or other injury will be done to or punishment inflicted on him or her or a relative of his or hers, or that the property of any of them will be damaged;
    3. persistently follows that person;
    4. hides any tools, clothes or other property owned or used by that person, or deprives him or her of them or hinders him or her in the use of them;
    5. with one or more other persons, follows that person, in a disorderly manner, on a highway;
    6. besets or watches the place where that person resides, works, carries on business or happens to be; or
    7. blocks or obstructs a highway
  5. the culprit did not have lawful authority to do it
  6. it is for the purpose of compelling another person to abstain from doing anything that he or she has a lawful right to do, or to do anything that he or she has a lawful right to abstain from doing.

Interpretation of the Offence

Section 423(1)(f) can be established by non-employees picketing for collective rights of employees.[1]

"Violence" within the meaning of s. 423 includes "forcibly interfering with personal freedom", "undue restraint applied to some natural process, habit, etc. so as to prevent its free development or exercise", or "force or strength of physical action".[2] The meaning "is not to be limited in its application to instances of actual physical contact with the person".[3]

  1. Smith Bros. Construction Co. Limited v Jones et al., 1955 CanLII 152 (ON SC)
    Re Regina and Basaraba, (1975), 24 CCC (2d) 296, [1976] 3 W.W.R. 233 (Man. C.A.)(*no link)
  2. R v Lenton, 1947 CanLII 111 (ON CA)
  3. Lenton

Misc Definitions

Section 2 defines "common-law partner", "property", "highway" and "dwelling-house".

Defences

A defence of mistake of fact is available for an offence under s. 423(1)(g) "where the belief under which the accused claims to have acted involves both fact and law".[1]

  1. R v Manuel, 2008 BCCA 143 (CanLII) at para 16

Participation of Third Parties

See also: Role of the Victim and Third Parties and Testimonial Aids for Young, Disabled or Vulnerable Witnesses

Testimonial Aids
Certain persons who testify are entitled to make application for the use of testimonial aids: Exclusion of Public (s. 486), Use of a Testimonial Screen (s. 486), Access to Support Person While Testifying (s. 486.1), Close Proximity Video-link Testimony (s. 486.2), Self-Represented Cross-Examination Prohibition Order (s. 486.3), and Witness Security Order (s. 486.7).

A witness, victim or complainant may also request publication bans (s. 486.4, 486.5) and/or a Witness Identity Non-disclosure Order (s. 486.31). See also, Publication Bans, above.

On Finding of Guilt
For any indictable offence with a maximum penalty no less than 5 years (including offences under s. 423), but are not serious personal injury offences, s. 606(4.2) requires that after accepting a guilty plea the judge must inquire whether "any of the victims had advised the prosecutor of their desire to be informed if such an agreement were entered into, and, if so, whether reasonable steps were taken to inform that victim of the agreement". Failing to take reasonable steps at guilty plea requires the prosecutor to "as soon as feasible, take reasonable steps to inform the victim of the agreement and the acceptance of the plea" (s. 606(4.3)).

Under s. 738, a judge must inquire from the Crown before sentencing whether "reasonable steps have been taken to provide the victims with an opportunity to indicate whether they are seeking restitution for their losses and damages".

Under s. 722(2), the judge must inquire "[a]s soon as feasible" before sentencing with the Crown "if reasonable steps have been taken to provide the victim with an opportunity to prepare" a victim impact statement. This will include any person "who has suffered, or is alleged to have suffered, physical or emotional harm, property damage or economic loss" as a result of the offence. Individuals representing a community impacted by the crime may file a statement under s. 722.2.

Sentencing Principles and Ranges

See also: Purpose and Principles of Sentencing, Sentencing Factors Relating to the Offender, and Sentencing Factors Relating to the Offence
For general principles and factors of violence and assault-based offences, see Violent and Assaultive Offences

Maximum Penalties

Offence(s) Crown
Election
Maximum Penalty
s. 423 Summary six months jail and/or a $5,000 fine
s. 423 Indictable 5 years custody

Minimum Penalties
These offences have no mandatory minimum penalties.

Available Dispositions

Offence(s) Crown
Election
Discharge
s. 730
Suspended
Sentence

s. 731(1)(a)
Stand-alone
Fine

s. 731(1)(b)
Custody
s. 718.3, 787
Custody and
Probation
s. 731(1)(b)
Custody and
Fine
s. 734
Conditional
Sentence
(CSO)
s. 742.1
s. 423 any OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png


Consecutive Sentences
There are no statutory requirements that the sentences be consecutive.

Principles

Ranges

see also: Intimidation (Sentencing Cases)

Ancillary Sentencing Orders

Offence-specific Orders

Order Conviction Description
DNA orders s. 423
Weapons Prohibition Orders s. 423
  • Where there is a conviction under s. 423 for an offence not otherwise referred to in s. 109, where "violence against a person was used, threatened or attempted" or "involves, or the subject-matter of which is a firearm, a cross-bow, a prohibited weapon, a restricted weapon, a prohibited device, ammunition, prohibited ammunition or an explosive substance", a discretionary prohibition order of any of these items is permitted under s. 110 regardless of Crown election where "it is desirable, in the interests of the safety of the person or of any other person".
      • Duration: The Order is for no more than 10 years starting at release from custody or at sentencing where custody is not ordered. If there is a prior conviction for an offence eligible for a s. 109 Order, the duration must be life. If violence is "used, threatened or attempted against" their past or present intimate partner, a child or parent of the said partner, or a person who resides with the said partner or the offender, the duration can be up to life in duration.
      • If the judge declines to make an Order or not order all the possible terms, "the court shall include in the record a statement of the court's reasons for not doing so." (s. 110(3))

General Sentencing Orders

Order Conviction Description
Non-communication order while offender in custody (s. 743.21) any The judge has discretion to order that the offender be prohibited "from communicating...with any victim, witness or other person" while in custody except where the judge "considers [it] necessary" to communicate with them.
Restitution Orders (s. 738) any A discretionary Order is available for things such as the replacement value of the property; the pecuniary damages incurred from harm, expenses fleeing a domestic partner; or certain expenses arising from the commission of an offence under s.402.2 or 403.
Victim Fine Surcharge (s. 737) any A mandatory surcharge under s. 737 of 30% of any fine order imposed, $100 per summary conviction or $200 per indictable conviction. If offence occurs on or after October 23, 2013, the order is discretionary based on ability to pay and the minimum amounts are smaller (15%, $50, or $100).

General Forfeiture Orders

Forfeiture Conviction Description
Forfeiture of Proceeds of Crime (s. 462.37(1) or (2.01)) any Where there is a finding of guilt for an indictable offence under the Code or the CDSA in which property is "proceeds of crime" and offence was "committed in relation to that property", the property shall be forfeited to Her Majesty the Queen on application of the Crown.
Fine in Lieu of Forfeiture (s. 462.37(3)) any Where a Court is satisfied an order for the forfeiture of proceeds of crime under s. 462.37(!) or (2.01) can be made, but that property cannot be "made subject to an order", then the Court "may" order a fine in "an amount equal to the value of the property". Failure to pay the fine will result in a default judgement imposing a period of incarceration.
Forfeiture of Weapons or Firearms (s. 491) any Where there is finding of guilt for an offence where a "weapon, an imitation firearm, a prohibited device, any ammunition, any prohibited ammunition or an explosive substance was used in the commission of [the] offence and that thing has been seized and detained", or "that a person has committed an offence that involves, or the subject-matter of which is, a firearm, a cross-bow, a prohibited weapon, a restricted weapon, a prohibited device, ammunition, prohibited ammunition or an explosive substance has been seized and detained, that the item be an enumerated weapon or related item be connected to the offence", then there will be a mandatory forfeiture order. However, under s. 491(2), if the lawful owner "was not a party to the offence" and the judge has "no reasonable grounds to believe that the thing would or might be used in the commission of an offence", then it should be returned to the lawful owner.
Forfeiture of Offence-related Property (s. 490.1) any Where there is a finding of guilt for an indictable offence, "any property is offence-related property" where (a) by means or in respect of which an indictable offence under this Act or the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act is committed, (b) that is used in any manner in connection with the commission of such an offence, or (c) that is intended to be used for committing such an offence". Such property is to be forfeited to Her Majesty in right of the province.

See Also

References