Assaulting a Peace Officer Resources

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The Criminal Code (s.2) provides a list of positions that fall under the designation of Peace Officer. Some of these include: police officer, border police, mayor, warden, prison guards, bailiffs, fishery guardians, pilots in command of an aircraft, etc. The list is non-exhaustive, and courts can still decide that some positions are “peace officers” even if they’re not included on the list. For example, courts have held that customs officers, conservation officers, and military police are all “peace officers”.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Assaulting a Peace Officer?
What are the penalties associated with a Conviction of Assaulting a Peace Officer/ With Weapon/ Causing Bodily Harm/ Aggravated Assault?
What is Disarming a Peace Officer?
What are the penalties associated with a Conviction of Disarming a Peace Officer?
Is a Bouncer at a club a Peace Officer?
Can a Bouncer at a club Assault me and be Charged?

What is Assaulting a Peace Officer?

There are three ways in which Assaulting a Peace Officer is committed.

The first is the same as a Common Assault (intentional application of force), except that the target of the Assault is a Peace Officer. In order for the offence to be established, the Peace Officer must have been engaged in the execution of his or her duty at the time of the Assault. Usually, the duty being executed is the general duty of a Peace Officer to keep the peace. However, if the actions of the peace officer exceeded his powers, then he was not engaged in the execution of his duty. For example, when a police officer enters the accused’s home unjustifiably and without consent.

The second way is resisting arrest. This occurs when a person assaults another person with the intent to resist or prevent the lawful arrest of himself or another person. Despite the general wording, the offence is most often applied to resisting arrest from a police officer. Furthermore, the accused must have intended to resist arrest, which requires proof that he was aware that he was being arrested.

The third way that Assaulting a Peace Officer can occur is when a person assaults another person who is engaged in a lawful seizure or process against lands or goods. Alternatively, this offence can also occur when a person assaults another person with intent to rescue anything taken under lawful seizure or process.

If an Assault in any of these three ways is carried out while carrying, using, or threatening to use a weapon, this would constitute Assaulting a Peace Officer with a Weapon.

If an Assault in any of the three above ways causes bodily harm to the Peace Officer, this would be Assaulting a Peace Officer Causing Bodily Harm.

If an Assault in any of the three above ways results in the wounding, maiming disfigurement or endangerment of the life of the peace officer, this would be Aggravated Assault of a Peace Officer.

What are the penalties associated with a Conviction of Assaulting a Peace Officer/ With Weapon/ Causing Bodily Harm/ Aggravated Assault?

Assaulting a Peace Officer can proceed as an indictable offence or as a summary conviction. The former is associated with a higher possible penalty. Which of the two ways it proceeds is the decision of the Crown and depends on the seriousness of the offence. If the case proceeds as an indictable offence, the maximum penalty is five years’ imprisonment. There is no maximum penalty on summary conviction, but it often results in more lenient sentences upon conviction than indictable offences.

The penalty for Assaulting a Peace Officer with Weapon or Causing Bodily Harm is a maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment as an indictable offence, or 18 months’ imprisonment by summary conviction.

Aggravated Assault of a Peace Officer is always an indictable offence and has a maximum penalty of 14 years’ imprisonment.

What is Disarming a Peace Officer?

Disarming a Peace Officer occurs when a person takes or attempts to take a weapon that is in the possession of a Peace Officer while he or she is engaged in the execution of their duty. A Weapon is anything that is designed to be used to cause injury or death, or to temporarily incapacitate another person.

What are the penalties associated with a Conviction of Disarming a Peace Officer?

If prosecuted as an indictable offence, the maximum penalty is 5 years’ imprisonment. If prosecuted by summary conviction, the maximum penalty is 18 months’ imprisonment.

Is a Bouncer at a club a Peace Officer?

A bouncer at a club is not a Peace Officer. Assault against a bouncer does not mean someone will be charged with Assaulting a Peace Officer, but rather, with Simple Assault. However, the context of the assault will be taken into consideration during various stages of the proceedings, particularly during sentencing.

Can a Bouncer at a club Assault me and be Charged?

If a bouncer at a nightclub commits an Assault, he may be charged as any other person. A bouncer, just like any other citizen, is not allowed to use force against a person. However, having the same rights as citizens means that they can act in self-defence, and can ask a person to leave premises.

Despite being charged as a regular Assault, cases of nightclub bouncers applying force to patrons involve different considerations than other assaults. These considerations come out most prominently during sentencing. For example, a judge may consider the fact that a bouncer is paid to prevent fights and keep order on premises as a factor in coming to a more lenient sentence. Nevertheless, each case is determined on its own facts, and a judge will consider the full circumstances of the case.

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