section 139(3)


This section of the Criminal Code of Canada defines actions that will be deemed as wilful attempts to obstruct, pervert or defeat the course of justice in judicial proceedings.


139(3) Without restricting the generality of subsection (2), every one shall be deemed wilfully to attempt to obstruct, pervert or defeat the course of justice who in a judicial proceeding, existing or proposed, (a) dissuades or attempts to dissuade a person by threats, bribes or other corrupt means from giving evidence; (b) influences or attempts to influence by threats, bribes or other corrupt means a person in his conduct as a juror; or (c) accepts or obtains, agrees to accept or attempts to obtain a bribe or other corrupt consideration to abstain from giving evidence, or to do or to refrain from doing anything as a juror.


Section 139(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada deals with attempts to obstruct, pervert, or defeat the course of justice during a judicial proceeding. It defines various actions that may be considered wilful attempts to obstruct justice, such as dissuading someone from giving evidence or bribing someone to abstain from doing something as a juror. The section employs an inclusive approach to the interpretation of the actions that constitute wilful attempts to obstruct justice, making it almost impossible for one to evade conviction by interpreting the law against its purpose. This is important in ensuring that the administration of justice is safeguarded against any attempts to interfere, pervert, or defeat its course. For instance, under subsection (a), anyone who interferes with a witness's testimony or intimidates them not to testify commits an offence. Similarly, under subsection (b), a person who intimidates or bribes a juror to influence the outcome of the case perverts justice and must be held liable under the law. Subsection (c) makes it an offence for jurors or potential jurors to accept bribes to do or refrain from doing anything in the course of their duty. Overall, Section 139(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada is aimed at promoting transparency, integrity, and fairness in the administration of justice and preventing any attempts to subvert it. It enables the court to protect its proceedings and ensures the successful prosecution of offenders who attempt to interfere or obstruct justice.


Section 139(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada is a core component of Canada's justice system. The provision criminalizes three distinct types of conduct that have the potential to obstruct, pervert or defeat the course of justice. These encompass a range of behaviors, from dissuading individuals from giving evidence to offering or accepting bribes to abstain from giving evidence or influencing jurors. One of the fundamental principles of the Canadian justice system is that all individuals should be treated equally, regardless of their background or social standing. This is why the provision emphasizes that everyone, regardless of who they are, shall be deemed to have acted wilfully if they engage in any of the prohibited activities outlined in subsection (2). The implication is clear: no one is above the law and individuals who act in ways that undermine the integrity of judicial proceedings will face the consequences outlined in the Code. Subsection (3)(a) prohibits individuals from dissuading or attempting to dissuade another person from giving evidence through the use of threats, bribes, or other corrupt means. This is an important concept, as intimidation tactics can be incredibly effective in preventing witnesses from coming forward. Even the mere suggestion of retaliation can be enough to silence individuals who may have important information that could sway the outcome of a trial. By criminalizing this behavior, the Code ensures that individuals are not unduly influenced or intimidated, regardless of the parties involved. Subsection (3)(b) covers the more specific case of individuals attempting to influence jurors through threats, bribes, or other corrupt means. Juries are an integral part of the Canadian justice system, serving as impartial arbiters of the facts presented in court. Any attempts to influence their decision-making processes threaten the integrity of the judicial system, as it undermines the fairness and impartiality of the decision-making process. It is clear that this sort of behavior must be prohibited and carries severe consequences. Finally, subsection (3)(c) deals with the issue of bribes and corrupt considerations in the context of giving evidence or acting as a juror. Protecting the integrity of the judicial system requires that individuals are free to give evidence and act as jurors without undue influence or pressure. This prohibition is a critical step towards ensuring that individuals are not corrupted by those who seek to pervert the course of justice in their favor. Overall, section 139(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada is an essential component of Canada's justice system. It serves as a strong deterrent against behaviors that threaten the integrity of judicial proceedings, ensuring that everyone is held accountable regardless of their background or social status. The Canadian justice system is built upon the foundation of impartiality, fairness, and integrity, and section 139(3) encourages and reinforces this commitment.


When dealing with Section 139(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada, there are several strategic considerations that should be taken into account to avoid running afoul of the law. This section imposes harsh penalties on those who attempt to obstruct, pervert or defeat the course of justice, which makes it essential for members of the legal profession and other professionals who occasionally engage in judicial proceedings to be fully aware of their legal obligations. One of the key considerations when dealing with Section 139(3) is to understand the scope of the section and the various forms of conduct it prohibits. The section is broad and covers a wide range of misconduct aimed at obstructing the course of justice. Therefore, it is essential to have a clear understanding of the conduct that is covered under this section to ensure that you comply with the law. Another important consideration is the evidence that prosecutors will need to secure a conviction under Section 139(3). Evidence is a crucial element in criminal proceedings, and prosecutors must establish a presence of intent to undermine the administration of justice beyond a reasonable doubt. Therefore, anyone who is facing charges for obstructing justice under this law should seek legal counsel to determine whether there is enough evidence to secure a conviction. Strategic considerations when dealing with the section would also include developing and maintaining strict internal processes to prevent the risk of corrupt practices. Fostering strong ethical standards, providing training on corruption risks, ensuring all transactions are transparent and promoting a culture of anti-corruption and integrity can curtail corrupt activities. Strategies that could be employed to avoid the risk of being charged under Section 139(3) include refraining from making threats, offering bribes or other corrupt incentives, and avoiding any attempt to influence witnesses or jurors improperly. It is also essential to ensure that all interactions with witnesses or jurors are conducted in a professional and ethical manner, with respect for the rule of law. In conclusion, Section 139(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada is a crucial law that serves to uphold the rule of law and protect the administration of justice. As such, exercising care and strategic thinking when dealing with this law is essential for all professionals involved in legal proceedings. Sound ethical practices and internal processes, adequate knowledge of the section, and a respect for the administration of justice are critical in avoiding the consequences of this law.