Canadian Criminal Law/Offences/Causing a Disturbance

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Causing a Disturbance
s. 175 of the Crim. Code
Election / Plea
Crown Election Summary
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)
Maximum 6 months jail or $5,000 fine
References
Offence Elements
Sentence Principles
Sentence Digests

Legislation[edit]

Causing disturbance, indecent exhibition, loitering, etc.
175. (1) Every one who

(a) not being in a dwelling-house, causes a disturbance in or near a public place,
(i) by fighting, screaming, shouting, swearing, singing or using insulting or obscene language,
(ii) by being drunk, or
(iii) by impeding or molesting other persons,
(b) openly exposes or exhibits an indecent exhibition in a public place,
(c) loiters in a public place and in any way obstructs persons who are in that place, or
(d) disturbs the peace and quiet of the occupants of a dwelling-house by discharging firearms or by other disorderly conduct in a public place or who, not being an occupant of a dwelling-house comprised in a particular building or structure, disturbs the peace and quiet of the occupants of a dwelling-house comprised in the building or structure by discharging firearms or by other disorderly conduct in any part of a building or structure to which, at the time of such conduct, the occupants of two or more dwelling-houses comprised in the building or structure have access as of right or by invitation, express or implied,

is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.


Evidence of peace officer

(2) In the absence of other evidence, or by way of corroboration of other evidence, a summary conviction court may infer from the evidence of a peace officer relating to the conduct of a person or persons, whether ascertained or not, that a disturbance described in paragraph (1)(a) or (d) or an obstruction described in paragraph (1)(c) was caused or occurred.



CCC

Proof of the Offence[edit]

subsection (a)
The crown should prove:

  1. the identity of the accused as culprit
  2. the jurisdiction in which the incident occurred (neighbourhood, city/town, and province)
  3. the time and date of the incident
  4. the commission of one of the enumerated acts:
    1. fighting,
    2. screaming,
    3. shouting,
    4. swearing,
    5. singing,
    6. using insulting or obscene language,
    7. being drunk, or
    8. impeding or molesting other persons
  5. the act causes a disturbance
  6. the disturbance is in or near a public place.[1]

subsection (b)
The crown should prove:

  1. the identity of the accused as culprit
  2. the jurisdiction in which the incident occurred (neighbourhood, city/town, and province)
  3. the time and date of the incident
  4. loiters in a public place and
  5. in any way obstructs persons who are in that place


  1. R. v. Lohnes, [1992] 1 SCR 167 1992 CanLII 112

Interpretation[edit]

A disturbance must be more than mere emotional upset or annoyance. The disturbance must be foreseeable as a consequence from the act. [1]

The actus reus of the offence involving obscene language requires that the obscene language cause an externally manifested disturbance.[2]

Shouting does not include amplification by a device such as a megaphone.[3]

Swearing includes the use of bad, obscene or offensive language.[4]

Disturbance requires most than merely an observing crowd or a crowd shouting anti-police sentiment as officers make arrests.[5]

An officer's belief that the accused's language directed at them was vulgar, aggressive and inappropriate alone is insufficient.[6]

"Loitering" must be an action or inaction without purpose. Simply standing around is not sufficient.[7]

  1. R. v. Lohnes, [1992] 1 SCR 167 1992 CanLII 112
  2. R. v. Swinkels 2010 ONCA 742 at para 10, 29, 32
  3. R. v. Reed, (1992) 76 CCC 204 (BCCA)
  4. R. v. Clothier, (1975) 13 NSR 141 (NSCA)
  5. Swinkels at para. 28
    Osbourne, 2008 ONCJ 134
  6. Swinkels at para. 28
    Osbourne
  7. R. v. Munroe, [1983] 148 DLR (3d) 166
    R. v. Hudson, 2007 SKQB 23

See also[edit]