Possession of Stolen Property (Offence)

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Possession of Stolen Property
s. 355 of the Crim. Code
Election / Plea
Crown Election Indictment (Over)
Hybrid (Under)
summary proceedings must initiate within 12 months of the offence (786(2))
Jurisdiction 355(a):
Prov. Court

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

* Must be indictable.
355(b):
Prov. Court only
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 2 years less a day jail and/or a $5,000 fine (from Sept 19, 2019)
Indictable Dispositions
Avail. Disp. same as summary
Minimum None
Maximum 2, 10 years incarceration
Reference
Offence Elements
Sentence Digests

Overview

Offences relating to possession of stolen property are found in Part IX of the Criminal Code relating to "Offences Against Rights of Property".

Pleadings
Offence
Section
Offence
Type
Crown Election Defence Election
s. 536(2)
Preliminary Inquiry
s. 355(b) [possession of property obtained by crime - no greater than $5,000] Hybrid Offence(s)
(Absolute Jurisdiction)
X Mark Symbol.png X Mark Symbol.png
s. 355(a) [possession of property obtained by crime - greater than $5,000 or a testamentary instr.] Hybrid Offence(s) summary election X Mark Symbol.png X Mark Symbol.png (under 14 years max)
s. 355(a) [possession of property obtained by crime - greater than $5,000 or a testamentary instr.] Hybrid Offence(s) indictable election OK Symbol.png (* only if Crown proceeds by Indictment) X Mark Symbol.png (under 14 years max)

The offence of possession of stolen property of value of $5,000 or less is hybrid with a Crown election. Where the offence involves "unlawfully having in his possession any property or thing or any proceeds of any property or thing knowing that all or a part of the property or thing or of the proceeds was obtained by or derived directly or indirectly from the commission in Canada of an offence punishable by indictment or an act or omission anywhere that, if it had occurred in Canada, would have constituted an offence punishable by indictment" where the value is of $5,000 or less it is an absolute jurisdiction offence under s. 553(a)(iii) and so does not have a defence election of court. It must be tried by a provincial court judge.

Offences under s. 355(a) [possession of property obtained by crime - greater than $5,000 or a testamentary instr.] are straight indictable. There is a Defence election of Court under s. 536(2).

Release
Offence(s) Appearance Notice
by Peace Officer

s. 497
Summons
by Judge or Justice

s. 508(1), 512(1), or 788
Release by
Peace Officer
on Undertaking

s. 498, 499, and 501
Release By
a Judge or Justice
on a Release Order

s. 515 to 519
Direct to Attend
for Fingerprints, etc.
Identification of Criminals Act

s. 2 ID Crim. Act
s. 355(a) [possession of property obtained by crime - greater than $5,000 or a testamentary instr.] OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png
s. 355(b) [possession of property obtained by crime - no greater than $5,000] OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png

When charged under s. 355(b) [possession of property obtained by crime - no greater than $5,000], the accused can be given an appearance notice without arrest under s. 497 or a summons. If arrested, he can be released by the arresting officer under s. 498 or 499 on an undertaking with or without conditions. He can also be released by a justice under s. 515.

When charged under s. 355(a) [possession of property obtained by crime - greater than $5,000 or a testamentary instr.] , the accused can be given a judicial summons without arrest. If arrested, he can be released by the arresting officer under s. 498 or 499 on an undertaking with or without conditions. He can also be released by a justice under s. 515. ​

Reverse Onus Bail

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)).
Fingerprints and Photos

A peace officer who charges a person under s. 355(a) or (b) of the Code can require that person to attend for the taking of fingerprints, photographs or other similar recordings that are used to identify them under the Identification of Criminals Act.

Publication Bans

For all criminal or regulatory prosecutions, 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
Offence(s) Wiretap
Eligible

s. 183
Dangerous Offender
Designated Offence

s. 752
Serious Personal
Injury Offence

s. 752
AG Consent Required Serious Criminality
Offence
s. 36 IRPA
s. 355(a) [possession of property obtained by crime - greater than $5,000 or a testamentary instr.] X Mark Symbol.png X Mark Symbol.png X Mark Symbol.png X Mark Symbol.png OK Symbol.png
s. 355(b) [possession of property obtained by crime - no greater than $5,000] X Mark Symbol.png X Mark Symbol.png X Mark Symbol.png X Mark Symbol.png X Mark Symbol.png

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

Offence Wording

Possession of property obtained by crime

354 (1) Every one commits an offence who has in his possession any property or thing or any proceeds of any property or thing knowing that all or part of the property or thing or of the proceeds was obtained by or derived directly or indirectly from

(a) the commission in Canada of an offence punishable by indictment; or
(b) an act or omission anywhere that, if it had occurred in Canada, would have constituted an offence punishable by indictment.
Obliterated vehicle identification number

(2) In proceedings in respect of an offence under subsection (1) [possession of stolen property], evidence that a person has in their possession a motor vehicle the vehicle identification number of which has been wholly or partially removed or obliterated or a part of a motor vehicle being a part bearing a vehicle identification number that has been wholly or partially removed or obliterated is, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, proof that the motor vehicle or part, as the case may be, was obtained,

(a) by the commission in Canada of an offence punishable by indictment; or
(b) by an act or omission anywhere that, if it had occurred in Canada, would have constituted an offence punishable by indictment.

....

Exception

(4) A peace officer or a person acting under the direction of a peace officer is not guilty of an offence under this section by reason only that the peace officer or person possesses property or a thing or the proceeds of property or a thing mentioned in subsection (1) [possession of stolen property] for the purposes of an investigation or otherwise in the execution of the peace officer’s duties.
R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 354; 1997, c. 18, s. 23; 2018, c. 29, s. 39.
[annotation(s) added]

CCC


Note up: 354(1), (2) and (4)

Punishment

355 Every one who commits an offence under section 354 [possession of stolen property]

(a) if the subject matter of the offence is a testamentary instrument or the value of the subject matter of the offence is more than $5,000, is guilty of
(i) an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 10 years, or
(ii) an offence punishable on summary conviction; or
(b) if the value of the subject matter of the offence is not more than $5,000, is guilty
(i) of an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or
(ii) of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 355; R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 49; 1994, c. 44, s. 21; 2019, c. 25, s. 131.
[annotation(s) added]

CCC


Note up: 355

Draft Form of Charges

See also: Draft Form of Charges
Pre-ambles
"THAT [accused full name] stands charged that, between the <DATE> day of <MONTH>, <YEAR> and <DATE> day of <MONTH>, <YEAR>***, at or near <COMMUNITY/TOWN/CITY>, <PROVINCE>, he [or she]..." OR
"THAT [accused full name] stands charged that, on or about the <DATE> day of <MONTH>, <YEAR>, at or near <COMMUNITY/TOWN/CITY>, <PROVINCE>, he [or she]..." OR
"AND FURTHER at the same time and place aforesaid, he [or she]..."
Code Section Subject of Offence Draft Wording
355 "..., contrary to section 355 of the Criminal Code.

Proof of the Offence

Proving possession of stolen property under s. 354(1) should include:

  1. identity of accused as culprit
  2. date and time of incident
  3. jurisdiction (incl. region and province)
  4. the culprit was in possession of any property, thing, or proceeds of any property or thing;
  5. the culprit knew or should have known that the any part of the subject-matter wa obtained by "commission in Canada of an offence punishable by indictment" or "an act or omission anywhere that, if it had occurred in Canada, would have constituted an offence punishable by indictment";
  6. date of actual theft of the items
  7. property was owned by someone (use witness or documents under ss. 491.2 and 657.1)
  8. that the lawful owner did not give or lend the goods to anyone
  9. the owner did not give permission for the culprit to take or convert it
  10. the items were not given to the culprit in good faith (no colour of right)
  11. value of the property
  12. continuity of the property
  13. file photo of property or actual property as exhibits (s. 491.2)
  14. if shoplifting,
    1. that the culprit did not pay for items or make attempt to pay
    2. that the culprit did not have money to pay for the items
    3. whether the culprit had property in possession at time of arrest

Proving possession of a motor vehicle with an obliterated vehicle identification number under s. 354(2) should include:

  1. the underlying elements of possession under s. 354(2);
  2. the culprit has possession a "motor vehicle" or "part of a motor vehicle"; and
  3. the "vehicle identification number" associated with the vehicle or part has "been wholly or partially removed or obliterated".

Interpretation of the Offence

"property"

s. 2
...
"property" includes

(a) real and personal property of every description and deeds and instruments relating to or evidencing the title or right to property, or giving a right to recover or receive money or goods,
(b) property originally in the possession or under the control of any person, and any property into or for which it has been converted or exchanged and anything acquired at any time by the conversion or exchange, and
(c) any postal card, postage stamp or other stamp issued or prepared for issue under the authority of Parliament or the legislature of a province for the payment to the Crown or a corporate body of any fee, rate or duty, whether or not it is in the possession of the Crown or of any person;

R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 2; R.S., 1985, c. 11 (1st Supp.), s. 2, c. 27 (1st Supp.), ss. 2, 203, c. 31 (1st Supp.), s. 61, c. 1 (2nd Supp.), s. 213, c. 27 (2nd Supp.), s. 10, c. 35 (2nd Supp.), s. 34, c. 32 (4th Supp.), s. 55, c. 40 (4th Supp.), s. 2; 1990, c. 17, s. 7; 1991, c. 1, s. 28, c. 40, s. 1, c. 43, ss. 1, 9; 1992, c. 20, s. 216, c. 51, s. 32; 1993, c. 28, s. 78, c. 34, s. 59; 1994, c. 44, s. 2; 1995, c. 29, ss. 39, 40, c. 39, s. 138; 1997, c. 23, s. 1; 1998, c. 30, s. 14; 1999, c. 3, s. 25, c. 5, s. 1, c. 25, s. 1(Preamble), c. 28, s. 155; 2000, c. 12, s. 91, c. 25, s. 1(F); 2001, c. 32, s. 1, c. 41, ss. 2, 131; 2002, c. 7, s. 137, c. 22, s. 324; 2003, c. 21, s. 1; 2004, c. 3, s. 1; 2005, c. 10, s. 34, c. 38, s. 58, c. 40, ss. 1, 7; 2006, c. 14, s. 1; 2007, c. 13, s. 1; 2012, c.1, s. 160, c. 19, s. 371; 2013, c. 13, s. 2; 2014, c. 17, s. 1, c. 23, s. 2, c. 25, s. 2; 2015, c. 3, s. 44, c. 13, s. 3, c. 20, s. 15; 2018, c. 21, s. 12; 2019, c. 13, s. 140; 2019, c. 25, s. 1.

CCC


Note up: 2

The definition of property under s. 2 does not include "interest in property".[1]

Definition of “property”

428. In this Part [Pt. XI – Wilful and Forbidden Acts in Respect of Certain Property (s. 428 to 447.1)], “property” means real or personal corporeal property.
R.S., c. C-34, s. 385.
[annotation(s) added]

CCC


Note up: 428

Postcard a chattel, value

4 (1) For the purposes of this Act, a postal card or stamp referred to in paragraph (c) of the definition property in section 2 shall be deemed to be a chattel and to be equal in value to the amount of the postage, rate or duty expressed on its face. ...

CCC


Note up: 4(1)

Presumed Value

Stolen property is prima facie presumed to be the retail value of the items.[2]

  1. R v Brunner, 1995 ABCA 120 (CanLII)
  2. R v Belanger, 1972 CanLII 1253 (BC CA)

"Vehicle Identification Number"

354.
...

Definition of “vehicle identification number”

(3) For the purposes of subsection (2) [obliterated vehicle identification number], “vehicle identification number” means any number or other mark placed on a motor vehicle for the purpose of distinguishing the motor vehicle from other similar motor vehicles.
...
R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 354; 1997, c. 18, s. 23.
[annotation(s) added]

CCC


Note up: 354(3)

Evidence of Conviction of Third Parties

Theft and possession

657.2 (1) Where an accused is charged with possession of any property obtained by the commission of an offence, evidence of the conviction or discharge of another person of theft of the property is admissible against the accused, and in the absence of evidence to the contrary is proof that the property was stolen.

Accessory after the fact

(2) Where an accused is charged with being an accessory after the fact to the commission of an offence, evidence of the conviction or discharge of another person of the offence is admissible against the accused, and in the absence of evidence to the contrary is proof that the offence was committed.
1997, c. 18, s. 80.

CCC


Note up: 657.2(1) and (2)

Joint Trial for Theft or Trafficking

Trial of persons jointly

593 (1) Any number of persons may be charged in the same indictment with an offence under section 354 [possession of stolen property] or 355.4 [possession of property obtained by crime — trafficking] or paragraph 356(1)(b) [possession of stolen mail], even though

(a) the property was had in possession at different times; or
(b) the person by whom the property was obtained
(i) is not indicted with them, or
(ii) is not in custody or is not amenable to justice.
Conviction of one or more

(2) Where, pursuant to subsection (1) [trial of persons jointly], two or more persons are charged in the same indictment with an offence referred to in that subsection, any one or more of those persons who separately committed the offence in respect of the property or any part of it may be convicted.
R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 593; 2010, c. 14, s. 11.
[annotation(s) added]

CCC


Note up: 593(1) and (2)

Importation

Bringing into Canada property obtained by crime

357 Every person who brings into or has in Canada anything that they have obtained outside Canada by an act that, if it had been committed in Canada, would have been the offence of theft or an offence under section 342 [theft and forgery of credit card] or 354 [possession of stolen property] is guilty of

(a) an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 10 years; or
(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.

R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 357 R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 50; 2019, c. 25, s. 132.
[annotation(s) added]

CCC


Note up: 357

Evidence

See also: Proof of Ownership
Having in possession when complete

358 For the purposes of sections 342 [theft and forgery of credit card] and 354 [theft and forgery of credit card] and paragraph 356(1)(b) [possession of stolen mail], the offence of having in possession is complete when a person has, alone or jointly with another person, possession of or control over anything mentioned in those sections or when he aids in concealing or disposing of it, as the case may be.

R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 358; R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 50.
[annotation(s) added]

CCC


Note up: 358

Merely getting into a stolen vehicle that was known to be stolen is not enough to establish possession or control.[1]

  1. R v Terrence, 1980 CanLII 74 (ON CA), per MacKinnon CJ("With deference, in my view, the mere getting into a stolen vehicle knowing it to be stolen, without more, would not be sufficient to establish the measure of control which I conclude is necessary to satisfy the requirement of the subsection.")

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
Offence(s) Victim Notice
of Agreement
s. 606(4.1), (4.2)
Victim Notice
for Restitution
s. 738
Victim Notice
of Impact Statement
s. 722(2)
s. 355

For any indictable offence with a maximum penalty no less than 5 years (including offences under s. 355(a) [possession of property obtained by crime - greater than $5,000 or a testamentary instr.] ), 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
See also: Property and Fraud Offences (Sentencing)
Maximum Penalties
Offence(s) Crown
Election
Maximum Penalty
s. 355(a) [possession of property obtained by crime - greater than $5,000 or a testamentary instr.] N/A 10 years incarceration
s. 355(b) [possession of property obtained by crime - no greater than $5,000] summary election 2 years less a day jail and/or a $5,000 fine (from Sept 19, 2019)
s. 355(b) [possession of property obtained by crime - no greater than $5,000] indictable election 2 years incarceration

Offences under s. 355(a) [possession of property obtained by crime - greater than $5,000 or a testamentary instr.] are straight indictable. The maximum penalty is 10 years incarceration. Offences under s. 355(b) are hybrid. If prosecuted by indictment, the maximum penalty is 2 years incarceration. If prosecuted by summary conviction, the maximum penalty is 2 years less a day jail and/or a $5,000 fine (from Sept 19, 2019).

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. 355(a) [possession of property obtained by crime - greater than $5,000 or a testamentary instr.] any OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png
s. 355(b) [possession of property obtained by crime - no greater than $5,000] any OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png

All dispositions are available.The judge may order a discharge (s. 730), suspended sentence (s. 731(1)(a)), fine (s. 731(1)(b)), custody (s. 718.3, 787), custody with probation (s. 731(1)(b)), custody with a fine (s. 734), or a conditional sentence (s. 742.1).

Consecutive Sentences

There are no statutory requirements that the sentences be consecutive.

Principles

Ranges

see also: Possession of Stolen Property (Sentencing Cases)

Ancillary Sentencing Orders

See also: Ancillary Orders
Offence-specific Orders
Order Conviction Description
DNA Orders s. 355(a)
General Sentencing Orders
Order Conviction Description
Non-communication order while offender in custody (s. 743.21) any The judge has the 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 discretionary surcharge under s. 737 of 30% of any fine order imposed, $100 per summary conviction or $200 per indictable conviction. If the offence occurs on or after October 23, 2013, the order has smaller minimum amounts (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(1) 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.

Record Suspensions and Pardons

Convictions under s. 355 [possession of stolen property] are eligible for record suspensions pursuant to s. 3 and 4 of the Criminal Records Act after 5 years after the expiration of sentence for summary conviction offences and 10 years after the expiration of sentence for all other offences. The offender may not have the record suspended where the offender was (1) convicted of 3 or more offences with a maximum penalty of life, and (2) for each 3 offences he "was sentenced to imprisonment for two years or more".

History

Prior to December 13, 2018, setions 259 and 260 read as follows:

Evidence

359 (1) Where an accused is charged with an offence under section 342 [theft and forgery of credit card] and 354 [possession of stolen property] and paragraph 356(1)(b) [possession of stolen mail], evidence is admissible at any stage of the proceedings to show that property other than the property that is the subject-matter of the proceedings

(a) was found in the possession of the accused, and
(b) was stolen within twelve months before the proceedings were commenced,

and that evidence may be considered for the purpose of proving that the accused knew that the property that forms the subject-matter of the proceedings was stolen property.

Notice to accused

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply unless

(a) at least three days notice in writing is given to the accused that in the proceedings it is intended to prove that property other than the property that is the subject-matter of the proceedings was found in his possession; and
(b) the notice sets out the nature or description of the property and describes the person from whom it is alleged to have been stolen.

R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 359; R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 51.
[annotation(s) added]

CCC

Constitionality of s. 359

Insofar as s. 359 requires admission of irrelevant or purely character evidence, it violates s. 7 of the Charter and should be "read down" to exclude irrelevant evidence. [1]

Evidence of previous conviction

360 (1) Where an accused is charged with an offence under section 354 [possession of stolen property] or paragraph 356(1)(b) [possession of stolen mail] and evidence is adduced that the subject-matter of the proceedings was found in his possession, evidence that the accused was, within five years before the proceedings were commenced, convicted of an offence involving theft or an offence under section 354 [possession of stolen property] is admissible at any stage of the proceedings and may be taken into consideration for the purpose of proving that the accused knew that the property that forms the subject-matter of the proceedings was unlawfully obtained.

Notice to accused

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply unless at least three days notice in writing is given to the accused that in the proceedings it is intended to prove the previous conviction.

R.S., c. C-34, s. 318.
[annotation(s) added]

CCC

  1. R v Hewitt, 1986 CanLII 4716 (MB CA), per Huband JA ("The admission of irrelevant and prejudicial evidence by virtue of s. 317(1) is surely contrary to the principles of fundamental justice. ")
    R v Guyett, 1989 CanLII 7202 (ON CA), per Brooke JA("It is sufficient to say that I agree with the judgment of the majority in Hewitt that s. 317 goes much farther than the general rules of admissibility and that under it, evidence of bad character can be introduced even if it shows nothing more. To this extent, the section violates the principles of fundamental justice and the guarantee in s. 7 of the Charter. In my opinion, this section cannot be read down.")

See Also