Toronto criminal administration of justice lawyer

Toronto Breach of Probation & Fail to Comply Lawyer

Being convicted of an administration of justice offence can have far reaching consequences. The penalties associated with the offence itself can be significant. In addition, past administration of justice convictions can make it significantly more difficult to secure a release on bail if one is charged with a future offence. Brian Weingarten is a Toronto criminal lawyer who understands these concerns, and will advance every possible defence to the charges.

What Types of Administration of Justice Offences are Contained in the Criminal Code?

There are a considerable number of “administrative of justice” offences in the Criminal Code. Some of the administrative of justice offences that are frequently prosecuted include

  • Failure to comply with, or breach of a probation order;
  • Failure to comply with, or breach of recognizance/bail;
  • Breach of a peace bond;
  • Resisting or obstruct police;
  • Obstruction of justice;
  • Intimidating a witness;
  • Perjury;
  • Failure to appear at court;
  • Failure to appear for fingerprinting.

I was Caught Breaching a Condition of my Probation or Bail, Shouldn’t I Just Plead Guilty?

You should never just plead guilty to breaching a condition of your probation or bail without first speaking with a lawyer. If there is a reasonable excuse for failing to comply with the terms and conditions, this may afford a complete defence to the charges. In circumstances where there are overlapping bail or probation orders, there may be a situation where you are directed to follow incompatible conditions. There may also be circumstances where the language of the terms and conditions are ambiguous. Finally, the Crown may fail to comply with the required notice requirements that must be followed when tendering proof of the recognizance or probation terms.

What Does it Mean to Obstruct a Police Officer?

Section 129 of the Criminal Code makes it an offence to wilfully obstruct a peace officer in the execution of his or her duty, or any person that is lawfully assisting such an officer. In order to secure a conviction, the Crown must prove: 1) that the accused intended to obstruct the police officer; 2) the police officer was actually engaged in the execution of his or her duties.

Many types of conduct might amount to obstructing a peace officer. Refusing to identify oneself to an officer where required to do so by law, or when engaged in a regulated activity, might amount to obstructing police. If one were to actually interfere with an officer while he/she is arresting an individual, this would also constitute obstructing police. Resisting arrest also constitutes obstructing a peace officer where the police are legally entitled to arrest the accused.

What is Obstruction of Justice?

Section 139 of the Criminal Code creates three general categories of obstruction of justice offences. The first relates to the improper indemnification of sureties. The second relates to obstructing, perverting, or defeating the course of justice generally. The first relates to intimidation or coercing of witnesses and jurors.

Specifically, the section provides:

139. (1) Every one who wilfully attempts in any manner to obstruct, pervert or defeat the course of justice in a judicial proceeding,

(a) by indemnifying or agreeing to indemnify a surety, in any way and either in whole or in part, or

(b) where he is a surety, by accepting or agreeing to accept a fee or any form of indemnity whether in whole or in part from or in respect of a person who is released or is to be released from custody,

is guilty of

(c) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or

(d) an offence punishable on summary conviction.

(2) Every one who wilfully attempts in any manner other than a manner described in subsection (1) to obstruct, pervert or defeat the course of justice is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years.

(3) Without restricting the generality of subsection (2), every one shall be deemed wilfully to attempt to obstruct, pervert or defeat the course of justice who in a judicial proceeding, existing or proposed,

(a) dissuades or attempts to dissuade a person by threats, bribes or other corrupt means from giving evidence;

(b) influences or attempts to influence by threats, bribes or other corrupt means a person in his conduct as a juror; or

(c) accepts or obtains, agrees to accept or attempts to obtain a bribe or other corrupt consideration to abstain from giving evidence, or to do or to refrain from doing anything as a juror.

What is Perjury and What Does the Crown Have to Prove To Secure a Conviction?

Section 131(1) of the Criminal Code creates the general offence of perjury. The section prescribes:

131. (1) Subject to subsection (3), every one commits perjury who, with intent to mislead, makes before a person who is authorized by law to permit it to be made before him a false statement under oath or solemn affirmation, by affidavit, solemn declaration or deposition or orally, knowing that the statement is false.

In order to secure a conviction for perjury, the Crown must prove: 1) that the accused did in fact make a false statement; 2) the accused knew that the statement was false; 3) there was an intention to mislead.

In cases where only one witnesses gives evidence as to the material particular that is alleged to be perjury, the Crown must tender corroborating evidence. The reason for this rule is to prevent unsubstantiated accusations that may be motivated by malice. However, recent caselaw suggests that the corroboration requirement does not apply in purely circumstantial cases. Here, the trier of fact (judge or jury) must weight all of the evidence and draw their own inferences.

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