Section 111 of the Criminal Code discusses applications for weapons prohibition orders where the individual has not been discharged or convicted of an offence. This section allows a firearm officer, chief firearm officer, or peace officer to make an application to the court to prohibit an individual from possessing any firearm, crossbow, prohibited or restricted weapon, prohibited device, ammunition, prohibited ammunition or explosive substance. The officer making the application must have reasonable grounds to believe that it is not in the interest of safety of the general public or the individual against whom the order is being sought.
What is an Application for a Prohibition Order?
An application for a prohibition order is an application made by a firearm officer, chief firearm officer or peace officer, requesting that the court order a specific person not to possess any firearm, crossbow, prohibited or restricted weapon, prohibited device, ammunition, prohibited ammunition or explosive substance. An officer may make such an application where they have reasonable grounds to believe the individual is a danger to themselves or the public.
Once the application is received by the court, a provincial court judge will set a date and time for a hearing. The individual against whom the order is sought will be notified of the date, time, and location of the hearing.
At the hearing, the court will hear all relevant evidence regarding why the order should or should not be made. The burden lies with the Crown to satisfy the court that the order should be made. If the individual against whom the order is to be made does not appear at the hearing, the court may proceed with hearing the application in their absence.
When can an Application for a Prohibition Order be made?
A firearm officer, chief firearm officer or peace officer may make an application for a prohibition order against an individual if they have reasonable grounds to believe the person is a safety risk to themselves or anyone else. This particular application is made in situations where the individual has not been convicted or discharged of an offence. In many cases, an application will be made where a person is suffering from mental health issues or where they have caused others to fear for their safety.
Once the order has been made, the individual will have 30 days to dispose of all items in their possession mentioned in the order. The individual may give their firearms or devices away, sell them, or give them to police to dispose of.
When will an Application for a Prohibition Order be Granted?
After the hearing, the presiding provincial court judge will consider all the evidence. Pursuant to section 111(5) of the Code, the judge may make the order if they are satisfied, on a balance of probabilities, that the individual poses a safety risk to themselves or any other person. It is possible for the judge to make an order prohibiting the individual from possessing certain weapons, while allowing them to continue to possess others.
Once a decision had been made, the provincial court judge must provide reasons for their decision.
How long will the Prohibition Order Remain in Place?
After the application for the prohibition order has been granted, the order will remain in effect for a period of five years, after which time it will automatically expire. A provincial court judge may also revoke the order on application from the person against whom the order was made if that individual can satisfy the court that the circumstances that originally led to the order cease to exist.
What happens if you Breach the Order?
An individual who breaches a weapon prohibition order may be arrested and charged with breaching a court order. The individual may also be charged with additional weapons offence for possessing the weapon illegally.