section 117.12(2)

INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

Certified copies of authorizations, licenses, or registration certificates related to firearms are admissible as evidence in legal proceedings.

SECTION WORDING

117.12(2) In any proceedings under this Act or any other Act of Parliament, a copy of any authorization, licence or registration certificate is, if certified as a true copy by the Registrar or a chief firearms officer, admissible in evidence and, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, has the same probative force as the authorization, licence or registration certificate would have had if it had been proved in the ordinary way.

EXPLANATION

Section 117.12(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada provides for the admissibility of a copy of any authorization, license, or registration certificate in any proceedings under the Act or any other Act of Parliament. The copy must be certified as a true copy by the Registrar or a chief firearms officer to be admissible as evidence. This provision allows for the use of a copy of any authorization or registration certificate in court proceedings, which saves time and resources, as the original document does not need to be produced. It also provides for a level of convenience for individuals and entities that are required to produce such documents in order to comply with the law. The section specifies that the certified copy has the same probative force as the original document, if there is no evidence to the contrary. This means that the certified copy carries the same weight as the original document and serves as conclusive evidence unless there is some evidence that suggests otherwise. Overall, Section 117.12(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada serves to simplify the process of producing evidence in proceedings related to firearms, providing a greater level of convenience and reducing the burden of proof on individuals and entities required to produce such documents.

COMMENTARY

Section 117.12(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada is a provision that has significant implications for the prosecution of crimes involving firearms. The section essentially allows for a copy of any authorization, licence or registration certificate related to firearms to be admissible as evidence, provided it has been certified as a true copy by the Registrar or a chief firearms officer. The provision goes on to state that in the absence of evidence to the contrary, the copy has the same probative force as the original would have if it had been proved in the ordinary way. The importance of this provision can be understood in the context of Canadian firearms laws. The possession, use, and trafficking of firearms are heavily regulated under Canadian law, and anyone who wants to acquire or possess a firearm must obtain a licence or authorization from the government. These authorizations can take different forms depending on the type of firearm involved, the intended use of the firearm, and the circumstances of the person seeking the authorization. For example, someone who wants to acquire a non-restricted firearm, such as a hunting rifle or shotgun, must obtain a Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) from the Canadian Firearms Program. To obtain a PAL, the applicant must undergo a background check, pass a safety course, and provide personal information to the government. The applicant must also provide a reference from someone who has known them for at least three years, and the reference must attest to the applicant's character, reliability, and mental stability. Similarly, someone who wants to acquire a restricted firearm, such as a handgun, must obtain a Restricted Possession and Acquisition Licence (RPAL), which has even stricter requirements. To obtain an RPAL, the applicant must pass an additional safety course, undergo a more detailed background check, and provide proof of a legitimate need for the firearm, such as participation in a shooting competition or employment as a police officer or security guard. In addition to these authorizations, firearms in Canada are also subject to registration. The Canadian Firearms Registry collects information about all firearms in the country, including their make, model, and serial number, as well as the identity of their owners. The registry is managed by the Canadian Firearms Program, and its data is used by law enforcement agencies to investigate crimes involving firearms. Given the heavy regulation of firearms in Canada, it's not surprising that authorizations, licences, and registration certificates related to firearms are important pieces of evidence in criminal cases. They can help establish whether a person had the legal right to possess a firearm at a particular time and place, and whether they complied with the conditions of their authorization. For example, if someone is charged with unlawfully possessing a restricted firearm, the fact that they didn't have an RPAL or that their RPAL had been revoked could be crucial to the prosecution's case. Section 117.12(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada provides a streamlined way of introducing this kind of evidence in court. Instead of having to produce the original authorization, licence, or registration certificate, which could be lost, damaged, or difficult to obtain, the prosecution can simply present a certified copy. This can save time and effort for the parties involved and ensure that the evidence is reliable and accurate. The provision also establishes a presumption of authenticity and probative force for the certified copy. This means that unless the defence can provide evidence to the contrary, the copy will be considered as valid and persuasive as the original document would be if it were presented in the ordinary way. This presumption can make it easier for the prosecution to establish its case and can increase the likelihood of a conviction. Overall, Section 117.12(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada is an important tool for the prosecution of crimes involving firearms. It allows for easier and more efficient introduction of crucial evidence and establishes a presumption of authenticity and probative force for that evidence. As firearms continue to be a significant public safety issue in Canada, this provision is likely to remain an important part of the legal framework for dealing with firearms-related offences.

STRATEGY

Section 117.12(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada establishes the admissibility of a copy of any authorization, license, or registration certificate in any proceedings under the Act or any other Act of Parliament. This provision has significant implications for Canadian law enforcement agencies and prosecutors, as it streamlines the process of introducing relevant evidence in court. One strategic consideration when dealing with this section is the importance of ensuring that any copy of an authorization, license, or registration certificate is certified as a true copy by the Registrar or a chief firearms officer. Failure to obtain such certification could result in the exclusion of the evidence or the loss of probative force, which could impact the outcome of the proceedings. As such, law enforcement agencies and prosecutors should work closely to ensure that all copies of relevant documents are properly certified. Another strategic consideration is the potential for challenges to the probative force of a certified copy of an authorization, license, or registration certificate. While such copies are generally admissible as evidence, the provision notes that they have the same probative force as the original document "in the absence of evidence to the contrary." This means that an accused could potentially challenge the authenticity or accuracy of the certified copy, which could lead to additional legal proceedings and delay. In order to mitigate the risk of such challenges, law enforcement agencies and prosecutors should work to ensure that all original documents are properly stored and maintained, as well as obtain additional evidence to support the veracity of the certified copy. This could include testimony from the Registrar or chief firearms officer regarding the process of certifying the copy, as well as other corroborating evidence such as witness statements or physical evidence. Overall, the strategic considerations when dealing with section 117.12(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada require a thorough understanding of the evidentiary requirements and potential challenges associated with introducing a certified copy of an authorization, license, or registration certificate as evidence. By carefully considering these issues and developing effective tactical strategies, law enforcement agencies and prosecutors can help ensure that justice is served in cases involving firearms-related offenses.