Assaulting a Police Officer – The Implications of the Charge

In the Criminal Code of Canada, assaulting a police officer falls under section 270. It stipulates the following:

 

270 (1) Every one commits an offence who

  • (a) assaults a public officer or peace officer engaged in the execution of his duty or a person acting in aid of such an officer;
  • (b) assaults a person with intent to resist or prevent the lawful arrest or detention of himself or another person; or
  • (c) assaults a person
    • (i) who is engaged in the lawful execution of a process against lands or goods or in
    • (ii) with intent to rescue anything taken under lawful process, distress or seizure.

Punishment  (2) Every one who commits an offence under subsection (1) is guilty of

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

making a lawful distress or seizure, or

This is obviously a serious charge as the Courts need to protect the Police in the lawful execution of their duties.

However and with the greatest respect to honest Police officers and the difficult situations they sometimes face, this charge is often used in circumstances where the accused has been the recipient of “excessive” force on the part of the police.

Simply put, the police state that the force they used was reasonable and needed in the circumstances to respond to the conduct of the accused.

The recent use of cell phones, surveillance cameras and other video devices has focused attention on police misconduct.

If you have been charged with this offence, contact a lawyer as soon as possible. It may be that there is video that can be obtained. At Daley, Byers we have on a number of occasions been able to find video that shows a different version of the facts from what was alleged by the police. In addition where there is more than one police witness, effective cross examination can often show inconsistencies in the police version of the facts.