Canadian Criminal Procedure and Practice/Pre-Trial Matters/Peace Bonds

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Introduction[edit]

A Peace Bond is a form of recognizance that a judge can order at the request of either Crown or Defence, or on the Court's own motion. The Peace Bond lasts for up to 12 months and may include conditions such as requiring the accused to "keeping the peace"; to refrain from contact or communication with a named party; not to possess any weapons or ammunition.

The Peace Bond can be ordered at any point before or during the trial.

Common Law[edit]

The peace bond traces back to the English common law as a form of "preventative justice". It "empowers justices to place a person under bond where it appears the person may be a threat to peace, regardless of the fact the person has committed no offence." [1]

The common law peace bond still exists. It is not a criminal punishment that is extinguished by s. 9 of the Criminal Code and is affirmed by section 8(2)[2]

  1. Stevenson v. Saskatchewan (Minister of Justice), 61 Sask.R.91 (Q.B.)
    see also Mackenzie v. Martin, 1954 CanLII 10 (SCC), [1954] S.C.R. 361 at p.370
  2. 8.(2) The criminal law of England that was in force in a province immediately before April 1, 1955 continues in force in the province except as altered, varied, modified or affected by this Act or any other Act of the Parliament of Canada.

Legislation[edit]

Sureties to Keep the Peace

Where injury or damage feared
810. (1) An information may be laid before a justice by or on behalf of any person who fears on reasonable grounds that another person will cause personal injury to him or her or to his or her spouse or common-law partner or child or will damage his or her property.

Duty of justice
(2) A justice who receives an information under subsection (1) shall cause the parties to appear before him or before a summary conviction court having jurisdiction in the same territorial division.

Adjudication
(3) The justice or the summary conviction court before which the parties appear may, if satisfied by the evidence adduced that the person on whose behalf the information was laid has reasonable grounds for his or her fears, (a) order that the defendant enter into a recognizance, with or without sureties, to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for any period that does not exceed twelve months, and comply with such other reasonable conditions prescribed in the recognizance, including the conditions set out in subsections (3.1) and (3.2), as the court considers desirable for securing the good conduct of the defendant; or (b) commit the defendant to prison for a term not exceeding twelve months if he or she fails or refuses to enter into the recognizance.

Conditions
(3.1) Before making an order under subsection (3), the justice or the summary conviction court shall consider whether it is desirable, in the interests of the safety of the defendant or of any other person, to include as a condition of the recognizance that the defendant be prohibited from possessing any firearm, cross-bow, prohibited weapon, restricted weapon, prohibited device, ammunition, prohibited ammunition or explosive substance, or all such things, for any period specified in the recognizance and, where the justice or summary conviction court decides that it is so desirable, the justice or summary conviction court shall add such a condition to the recognizance.

Surrender, etc.
(3.11) Where the justice or summary conviction court adds a condition described in subsection (3.1) to a recognizance order, the justice or summary conviction court shall specify in the order the manner and method by which (a) the things referred to in that subsection that are in the possession of the accused shall be surrendered, disposed of, detained, stored or dealt with; and (b) the authorizations, licences and registration certificates held by the person shall be surrendered.

Reasons
(3.12) Where the justice or summary conviction court does not add a condition described in subsection (3.1) to a recognizance order, the justice or summary conviction court shall include in the record a statement of the reasons for not adding the condition.

Idem
(3.2) Before making an order under subsection (3), the justice or the summary conviction court shall consider whether it is desirable, in the interests of the safety of the informant, of the person on whose behalf the information was laid or of that person’s spouse or common-law partner or child, as the case may be, to add either or both of the following conditions to the recognizance, namely, a condition

(a) prohibiting the defendant from being at, or within a distance specified in the recognizance from, a place specified in the recognizance where the person on whose behalf the information was laid or that person’s spouse or common-law partner or child, as the case may be, is regularly found; and
(b) prohibiting the defendant from communicating, in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, with the person on whose behalf the information was laid or that person’s spouse or common-law partner or child, as the case may be.

Forms
(4) A recognizance and committal to prison in default of recognizance under subsection (3) may be in Forms 32 and 23, respectively.

Modification of recognizance
(4.1) The justice or the summary conviction court may, on application of the informant or the defendant, vary the conditions fixed in the recognizance.

Procedure
(5) The provisions of this Part apply, with such modifications as the circumstances require, to proceedings under this section.

A provinical court judge has a common law power to impose a 810 peace bond upon an accused post-trial. However, notice must be given to allow for an opportunity to either call evidence or make submissions. Further, there must be a factual basis to conclude that there is a future risk of a breach of the peace.[1]

  1. R. v. Wells, 2012 ABQB 77

Requirements[edit]

Conditions[edit]

Breaches[edit]

A breach of a peace bond order cannot amount to a breach of undertaking under s. 145(3).[1]

  1. R . v. Simancek, [1993] O.J. No. 1342 (O.C.A.)

See Also[edit]

  • R. v. Siemens, 2012 ABPC 116 gives a detailed summary of the history of the peacebond