Warrant Arrests

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General Principles

See also: Arrest Procedure

A warrant is one among several means of securing a person's attendance at court, usually it is the accused. There are several sections of the Code that address arrest warrant powers depending on the circumstances.

There are:

  • Arrest Warrant at first instance upon charges being laid against an accused (s. 507)
  • Arrest Warrant (or a "bench" warrant) for non-attendance at court (s. 512 and 597)
  • Arrest Warrant for failing to attend the police station pursuant to the Identification of Criminals Act (s. 502)
  • Arrest Warrant for breaching any terms of release (524)
  • Arrest Warrant for witnesses (s. 698 to 705)

An arrest warrant in a general sense authorizes a peace officer to 1) arrest the named person and to 2) bring them "before a judge in the territorial division in which the warrant issued".[1]

Youth Court Justice
Any warrant issued by a youth court justice may be executed anywhere in Canada.[2]

  1. R v Charles, 2012 SKCA 34 (CanLII), at para 9
  2. see s. 145 YCJA: "145 A warrant issued by a youth justice court may be executed anywhere in Canada."

Arresting the Accused at First Instance and Issuing Process

See also: Laying of an Information

Arresting the Accused After They Failed to Attend Court

Arrest Warrant for Breaches of Orders

Form of Arrest Warrants

Contents of warrant to arrest
511. (1) A warrant issued under this Part [PART XVI (s. 493 to 529.5)] shall

(a) name or describe the accused;
(b) set out briefly the offence in respect of which the accused is charged; and
(c) order that the accused be forthwith arrested and brought before the judge or justice who issued the warrant or before some other judge or justice having jurisdiction in the same territorial division, to be dealt with according to law.

...
R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 511; R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 81; 1997, c. 18, s. 57. [annotations added]


CCC


Formalities of warrant
513. A warrant in accordance with this Part shall be directed to the peace officers within the territorial jurisdiction of the justice, judge or court by whom or by which it is issued.


CCC

Execution of Warrant

See also: Entry into Place to Execute an Arrest Warrant

511. ...
Discretion to postpone execution
(3) Notwithstanding paragraph (1)(c), a judge or justice who issues a warrant may specify in the warrant the period before which the warrant shall not be executed, to allow the accused to appear voluntarily before a judge or justice having jurisdiction in the territorial division in which the warrant was issued.
Deemed execution of warrant
(4) Where the accused appears voluntarily for the offence in respect of which the accused is charged, the warrant is deemed to be executed. ...
R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 511; R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 81; 1997, c. 18, s. 57.


CCC

Execution of warrant
514. (1) A warrant in accordance with this Part [PART XVI Compelling Appearance of Accused Before a Justice and Interim Release] may be executed by arresting the accused

(a) wherever he is found within the territorial jurisdiction of the justice, judge or court by whom or by which the warrant was issued; or
(b) wherever he is found in Canada, in the case of fresh pursuit.

By whom warrant may be executed
(2) A warrant in accordance with this Part may be executed by a person who is one of the peace officers to whom it is directed, whether or not the place in which the warrant is to be executed is within the territory for which the person is a peace officer.
...
R.S., c. 2(2nd Supp.), s. 5. [annotation added]


CCC

Witness Warrants

Outside Native Jurisdiction

Release After Warrant Arrest

See also: Release_and_Attendance#Release_upon_Warrant_Arrest

Where an accused is arrested under a warrant the officer will not normally have discretion to release the accused before delivering the accused before a justice or judge. An exception exists under s. 503(3) where the warrant is "endorsed" for release.

Special Issues

Delayed Arrests

See also: Right to a Trial Within a Reasonable Time

The practice of waiting to execute an arrest warrant until the accused has finished serving a previous sentence is considered inappropriate.[1]

Where the accused is easily locatable within the province, with no change of name, listed address, and no efforts to conceal his location, will lean to the side of unacceptable delay.[2]

A lack of effort on the part of the police will support unreasonable delay.[3]

  1. R v Parisien (1971) 3 CCC (2d) 433 (*no link) at p. 437 per Fauteux
    R v Cardinal, 1985 ABCA 157 (CanLII)
  2. e.g. Gahan v A.G. Alberta, 1988 CanLII 3471 (AB QB), [1988] A.J. No. 415 (QB)
    R v Carey, [1983] BCJ No. 307 (County Ct.)(*no link)
  3. e.g. R v Yellowhorse, [1990] A.J. No. 964 (Prov.Ct.)(*no link)


Arresting the Wrong Person

Arrest of wrong person
28 (1) Where a person who is authorized to execute a warrant to arrest believes, in good faith and on reasonable grounds, that the person whom he arrests is the person named in the warrant, he is protected from criminal responsibility in respect thereof to the same extent as if that person were the person named in the warrant.
...
R.S., c. C-34, s. 28.


CCC

See Also