Hostage Taking

The offence of hostage taking is outlined in section 279.1(1) of the Criminal Code.

A person commits the offence of hostage taking when, to induce someone into doing something in exchange for the release of their hostage, they confine, imprison, forcibly seize, or detain someone as a hostage and utter, convey, or cause another person to receive a threat that this hostage will die, be harmed, or continued to be imprisoned.


Person A confines person B to a hotel room and tells person B’s wife, person C, that if she does not divorce person B then person A will kill person B.

Person D takes person E hostage in Cambodia and relays a message to the Canadian government that person E will be killed if the government does not send person D a million dollars.

Person F and his friends force person G into their car and call person H to say that if person H does not pay them then they will cut off person G’s arm.


R. v. Ader, 2017 ONSC 7052

In R. v. Ader, the accused was charged with one count of hostage taking when he acted as negotiator for a group of people who took a Canadian citizen hostage in Somalia and kept her in captivity for 15 months, threatening to kill her unless her family paid a ransom.

R. v. Ribic, 2008 ONCA 790

In R. v. Ribic, the accused was convicted of two counts of hostage taking for using two unarmed UN military observers in Bosnia, one of which was a Canadian citizen, as human shields by shackling them to bunkers that were the target of a NATO air strike and threatening to kill them if the NATO bombings did not stop.

Offence Specific Defence(s)

No Confinement

Where the person does not confine, imprison, forcibly seize, or detain another, even where they threaten to kill, harm, or imprison someone if something else is not done, they may not have completed the offence of hostage taking. They may, however, committed the offence of uttering death threats.

No Intention

Where the person does not intend that anyone do anything in exchange for the release of the person they have confined, imprisoned, forcibly seized, or detained, they may not have committed the offence of hostage taking. They may, however, have committed the offence of forcible confinement.

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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