Trespassing at Night

Trespassing at Night

The offence of trespassing at night is outlined in section 177 of the Criminal Code.

A person commits the offence of trespassing at night when they stand near or creep around a home located on another person’s property between 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.

Examples

Person A stands against the outside wall of person B’s mobile home at 11 p.m.

Person C stealthy walks around person D’s cottage property at night, getting close enough to look inside the home’s windows.

Cases

R. v. Priestap, 2006 CanLII 12288 (ON CA)

In R. v. Priestap, the accused was charged with one count of trespassing at night when he was seen by the victim crouching behind the edge of her home’s deck shortly after 9:00 p.m.

R. v. Reilly, 2012 ONSC 6563

In R. v. Reilly, the accused was charged with trespassing at night when he was seen standing on a narrow pathway behind a university residence looking into the residence’s open windows around 10:00 p.m.

Offence Specific Defence(s)

Lawful Excuse

Where a person is standing or creeping around on a property with a lawful excuse, they have not completed the offence of trespassing at night. A lawful excuse includes experiencing or responding to a medical emergency or a threat to life. For example, if person A is running across person B’s backyard to escape an assailant, person A may not have completed the offence of trespassing at night.

Not Near a Home

Where the person is standing or creeping around on private property that does not have a home on it, such as an empty field or a paved lot, they will not have completed the offence of trespassing at night.

Not Another Person’s Private Property

Where the person is not standing or creeping around on another person’s private property but is doing so on their own property or on public property, they will not have completed the offence of trespassing at night.

Daytime

Where the person is standing or creeping around on another person’s property during the day, meaning between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., they will not have completed the offence of trespassing at night.

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