section 129

INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

Section 129 of the Criminal Code of Canada pertains to the obstruction of public officers or peace officers, which carries penalties of imprisonment.

SECTION WORDING

129 Every one who (a) resists or wilfully obstructs a public officer or peace officer in the execution of his duty or any person lawfully acting in aid of such an officer, (b) omits, without reasonable excuse, to assist a public officer or peace officer in the execution of his duty in arresting a person or in preserving the peace, after having reasonable notice that he is required to do so, or (c) resists or wilfully obstructs any person in the lawful execution of a process against lands or goods or in making a lawful distress or seizure, is guilty of (d) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or (e) an offence punishable on summary conviction.

EXPLANATION

Section 129 of the Canadian Criminal Code lays out the crimes of resisting or obstructing a public officer or peace officer in the execution of their duty, failing to assist an officer when required, and obstructing someone who is lawfully executing a process against lands or goods or making a lawful distress or seizure. In simpler terms, this section forbids anyone from getting in the way of police officers or other public officers carrying out their duties. It also requires citizens to assist law enforcement when called upon to do so. These provisions are designed to ensure that officers are able to do their jobs safely and efficiently, while also upholding the authority of the law. The consequences for violating this section can be severe. Specific punishments vary depending on the exact nature of the crime and the circumstances involved, but can include imprisonment for up to two years. Overall, Section 129 is an important component of the Criminal Code of Canada, as it establishes clear guidelines for lawful interactions between citizens and law enforcement officials. By obeying these laws, individuals can help ensure that everyone remains safe and secure in their day-to-day lives.

COMMENTARY

Section 129 of the Canadian Criminal Code establishes offences related to resisting or obstructing public officers and peace officers in the discharge of their duties. The gravity of these offences reflects the importance of the role of these officials in maintaining law and order in the country. Subsection (a) of Section 129 criminalizes any act of resistance or willful obstruction of a public or peace officer in the performance of their duties. This provision serves to discourage citizens from interfering with the work of law enforcement officers who are often tasked with protecting public safety. By resisting or obstructing such officials, individuals not only endanger themselves but also others who may be affected by their conduct. Subsection (b) of this provision requires individuals to assist public or peace officers if they are requested to do so while executing their duties. Failure to comply with such requests without a reasonable excuse is also a criminal offence under this subsection. This provision is especially relevant in situations where law enforcement officers may need help from the public to prevent a crime or apprehend a suspect. The obligation to assist under reasonable circumstances places a responsibility on members of the public to maintain security and safety in their communities. Finally, subsection (c) concerns the obstruction of any person, including law enforcement officials, in the lawful execution of various legal processes such as the seizure of goods or the attachment of property. This provision is necessary to safeguard the integrity of legal processes that are essential for upholding the rule of law in Canada. It is worth noting that Section 129 has both indictable and summary conviction components. This allows for flexibility in the application of the criminal law depending on the degree of culpability of the offender and the severity of the offence committed. Where an offence under this section is tried by way of summary conviction, it generally carries less severe penalties than an indictable offence. Overall, Section 129 serves as a vital deterrent against acts that could endanger public safety and interfere with the work of law enforcement officials. It also reflects the shared responsibility of all citizens to work towards maintaining law and order within their communities. By avoiding acts of resistance and willingly extending assistance to public officers, individuals contribute to the general wellbeing of Canadian society and the continued functioning of the justice system.

STRATEGY

When dealing with section 129 of the Criminal Code of Canada, there are various strategic considerations that should be taken into account. This section criminalizes any attempts to obstruct or resist a public officer or peace officer who is executing their duty or any person who is lawfully acting to aid such an officer. It also criminalizes the failure to assist a public officer or peace officer in the execution of their duty in arresting a person or preserving the peace after receiving reasonable notice. One of the first strategic considerations is the need to understand the specific circumstances under which the alleged obstruction or resistance took place. The language of the section does not offer any specific guidance on what constitutes reasonable or lawful conduct in the execution of their duty by the officers. Therefore, it is essential to gather a full account of the situation so that legal strategies can be appropriately tailored to the circumstances surrounding the case. A critical strategy when dealing with section 129 is to ensure proper compliance with the law and exercising of rights. This means accepting that the authority of public and peace officers is lawful in Canada and that their roles are essential in maintaining public order and preserving the rule of law. In situations where officers are acting outside of their lawful duties or engaging in misconduct, the use of appropriate channels, such as filing complaints or lawsuits, is a more appropriate strategy than obstructing or resisting them. Another important strategy when dealing with section 129 is to ensure the availability of legal aid throughout the legal process. For instance, the accused may benefit from consulting with a criminal defense lawyer to better understand their legal options, present their evidence, and mount the best possible legal defense. Legal aid will also help the accused to properly navigate the court system, leading to an efficient resolution of the case. In cases where the obstruction or resistance is the result of a misunderstanding or miscommunication, a strategic approach would be to provide clarification on the role of the officer or on the lawful nature of their actions. This will help the accused to understand the importance of cooperating with law enforcement and the consequences of obstructing or resisting them. Confrontational or aggressive behavior is rarely effective and can lead to more severe charges being laid against the accused. In conclusion, the strategic considerations when dealing with section 129 of the Criminal Code of Canada are numerous. The proper compliance with the law, availability of legal aid, and a clear understanding of the specific case details are essential components of a robust defense strategy. Ultimately, strategies that focus on de-escalation, cooperation, and respectful communication with the authorities are more likely to result in favorable legal outcomes.