Home Canada Laws Mischief criminal code section 430 Canada

Mischief criminal code section 430 Canada

Mischief criminal code section 430 Canada

The mischief criminal code of Canada is the law that defines what constitute mischief, the punishment, and the requirements in proving a crime of mischief.

Wilfully damaging property of a private person or a public property is illegal and punishable by law. In this article, we discuss the section 430 of the Canadian criminal code. Read on for more details.

Mischief Definition in law

Mischief in law refers to the wilful damage, or harm to property. It is a criminal act for which the law provides a means for the affected to seek remedy.

Mischief criminal code

The mischief criminal code of Canada is contained in section 430 of the Canada Criminal code. The law defines what constitute mischief and prescribes appropriate punishment for the crime. A person commits mischief when they wilfully:

  • (a) destroys or damages property;
  • (b) renders property dangerous, useless, inoperative or ineffective;
  • (c) obstructs, interrupts or interferes with the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property; or
  • (d) obstructs, interrupts or interferes with any person in the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property.

The Mischief criminal code does not only limit the crime to mischievous acts on tangible or real property. The damage or alteration of computer based properties such as data also constitute mischief.

Mischief in relation to computer data

A person commits mischief in relation to computer data when they wilfully:

  • (a) destroys or alters computer data;
  • (b) renders computer data meaningless, useless or ineffective;
  • (c) obstructs, interrupts or interferes with the lawful use of computer data; or
  • (d) obstructs, interrupts or interferes with a person in the lawful use of computer data or denies access to computer data to a person who is entitled to access to it.
READ ALSO:  BC Assessment - How property assessment works and how to register

Punishment for mischief endangering life

Any person who commits mischief that causes actual danger to life is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for life.

Mischief over $5,000 criminal code

Any person who commits mischief in relation to property that is a testamentary instrument or the value of which exceeds five thousand dollars:

  • (a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years; or
  • (b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

Mischief under $5,000 criminal code

Any person who commits mischief in relation to property that is not a testamentary instrument or has value that does not exceed $5000:

  • (a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; or
  • (b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

Mischief relating to religious property, educational institutions, etc.

Any person who commits mischief in relation to property by motivation of bias, prejudice or hate based on color, race, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression or mental or physical disability,

  • (a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years; or
  • (b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

Properties that are classified under this section include:

(a) a building or structure, or part of a building or structure, that is primarily used for religious worship — including a church, mosque, synagogue or temple —, an object associated with religious worship located in or on the grounds of such a building or structure, or a cemetery;

(b) a building or structure, or part of a building or structure, that is primarily used by an identifiable group as an educational institution — including a school, daycare center, college or university —, or an object associated with that institution located in or on the grounds of such a building or structure;

(c) a building or structure, or part of a building or structure, that is primarily used by an identifiable group for administrative, social, cultural or sports activities or events — including a town hall, community center, playground or arena —, or an object associated with such an activity or event located in or on the grounds of such a building or structure; or

(d) a building or structure, or part of a building or structure, that is primarily used by an identifiable group as a residence for seniors or an object associated with that residence located in or on the grounds of such a building or structure.

READ ALSO:  Strata Property Act - How does strata ownership work?

Mischief relating to war memorials

Any person who commits mischief in relation to property that is a building, structure or part thereof that primarily serves as a monument to honour persons who were killed or died as a consequence of a war, including a war memorial or cenotaph, or an object associated with honoring or remembering those persons that is located in or on the grounds of such a building or structure, or a cemetery is guilty of an indictable offence or an offence punishable on summary conviction and is liable,

(a) whether the offence is prosecuted by indictment or punishable on summary conviction, to the following minimum punishment, namely,

  • (i) for a first offence, to a fine of not less than $1,000,
  • (ii) for a second offence, to imprisonment for not less than 14 days, and
  • (iii) for each subsequent offence, to imprisonment for not less than 30 days;

(b) if the offence is prosecuted by indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years; and

(c) if the offence is punishable on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term of not more than two years less a day.

Mischief in relation to cultural property

Any person who commits mischief in relation to cultural property as defined in Article 1 of the Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, done at The Hague on May 14, 1954, as set out in the schedule to the Cultural Property Export and Import Act,

  • (a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years; or
  • (b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

How to prove criminal mischief

To prove mischief according to the Mischief criminal code, prosecutors must demonstrate that indeed the property has suffered damage and that damage was caused by the defendant. Presenting a pictorial evidence of the damaged property will suffice for proof of damage.

READ ALSO:  BC Assessment - How property assessment works and how to register

In addition to establishing damage, prosecutors must also prove that the defendant wilfully caused damage to the property.

How to defend a mischief charge

A defendant may raise several points in their defense for a charge of mischief under the criminal code of Canada. These include:

  • Accidental Damage: A defendant can argue that the property was not damaged wilfully, but accidentally. Example, is during an altercation, a valuable vase falls and breaks, a defendant can claim that the damage was purely accidental.
  • Prior Damage: A defendant can raise a point of defense to claim the property was damaged prior to the incident that involved the defendant.

Mischief Criminal Code FAQs

Can you go to jail for mischief under $5,000?

Yes, if you’re found guilty either by summary conviction or indictment, you can go to prison for up to 2 years. For first time offenders, an offender’s ability to provide restitution may contribute to a lighter or non-custodial sentence. However, prosecutors and the judge will consider the issue of public interest to determine if imprisonment is more appropriate and to what term permissible under the criminal code section 430 of Canada.

Can I go to jail for damaging my own property?

No, you are not liable for mischief if you damage property that solely belongs to you. However, if other people have interest in the property such as a joint property, wilfully damaging the property would constitute mischief.

Conclusion

Wilfully damaging, harming or destroying property is a criminal offence under the Mischief criminal code section 430 of the Canadian criminal code. Depending on the circumstances, a person faces up to life imprisonment as punishment for mischief.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE ⇓
⇒ Quid Pro Quo Harassment Definition and Examples
⇒ If someone refuses to return your property is it theft?
⇒ Who can override a power of attorney?
⇒ Can a Beneficiary Witness a Will?
⇒ Can a 13 year old date a 16 year old?

DO NOT REPUBLISH THIS CONTENT
The contents of this page are for informational purposes only and doesn’t constitute legal or financial advice. Read our terms of use for more

Previous articleHow total job benefits and total employee compensation differ
Next articleJessica Millage attorney – Profile, education, law firm and contact