The offence of assault-choking is outlined in section 267(c) of the Criminal Code.

A person commits assault-choking when they intentionally apply force either directly or indirectly, to another person without that person’s consent and the force chokes, suffocates or strangles the complainant.


Person A and person B get into a verbal domestic argument. Person A places their hands around person B’s throat and applies pressure.

Person A puts a pillow over person B’s face and applies pressure after getting angry.


R. v Bear, [2018] SKCA 22

In R. v Bear, the offender was charged with one count of assault – choking, among other charges. The offender was charged after choking his ex-spouse unconscious during an argument.

R. v. Hashi, [2021] ONSC 5617

In R. v. Hashi, the offender was charged with one count of assault choking, among other charges, after attacking a woman inside her apartment. The offender choked the woman with his hands while attacking her.

Offence Specific Defence

Self Defence or Defence of Another

An individual has the right to use force to protect themselves if necessary. If person B assaults or attempts to assault person A, person A is legally entitled to use force (i.e., commit an assault) against person B in self defence. Person B cannot use any more force than is necessary to stop person A’s assault. An individual may also use the force necessary to defend an attack on another person. This legal defence is outlined in section 34(1) of the Criminal Code.

Defence of Property

An individual has the right to use force to protect their property or to remove someone from their property. The force used must be reasonable and only what is necessary to expel the person from the property. If a person does not have a legal right to the property, they may not use force to remove another person. This legal defence is outlined in section 35(1) of the Criminal Code.

No Choking

To gain a conviction for assault – choking, the Crown must prove that the accused assaulted the complainant and strangled, choked or suffocated the complainant in the process. If the complainant was not strangled, choked or suffocated the accused cannot be convicted of assault – choking.

For example, person A and person B are in an intimate relationship. They get into an argument in a public parking lot and person B grabs person A by the front of the coat. From behind, witnesses believe they have seen person B grab person A by the throat. Witnesses call police and person B is charged with assault – choking. Person B is guilty of simple assault for grabbing person A’s coat, but is not guilty of assault – choking.

More Legal Information

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In criminal cases, there are very strict rules governing what evidence can be used and how it can be used.

The rights enjoyed of all those within Canada are contained in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Criminal procedure is the process by which an accused person is arrested and brought through the justice system.

Sentencing refers to the punishment that is ordered when an individual is found guilty of a criminal offence.

Firearm Smoke

Offences in Canada are listed in the Criminal Code. They include crimes related to people, vehicles and weapons.

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