section 140(2)


The punishment for committing public mischief in Canada is imprisonment for up to 5 years.


140(2) Every one who commits public mischief (a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years; or (b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.


Section 140(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada pertains to the crime of public mischief. This section defines this offence as being committed when someone willfully causes or attempts to cause anyone to be falsely suspected or accused of wrongdoing, to be arrested or detained on false grounds, or to be hindered in the performance of their duties. This could occur through various means, such as making a false report to the police or damaging property to implicate someone else. This section of the Criminal Code outlines the consequences for someone found guilty of this offence. If a person is convicted of public mischief, they may face a term of imprisonment of up to five years if the offence is considered indictable. Alternatively, if it is determined that the offence is of less severity, they may be punished with a less severe sentence through summary conviction. The primary purpose of this section is to establish a legal framework for dealing with individuals who engage in malicious and intentional conduct meant to cause harm to others, or to undermine public order and confidence in the legal system. By establishing clear and severe penalties for such actions, the Criminal Code aims to deter individuals from engaging in this behaviour and to protect the public from its effects.


Section 140(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada deals with the offence of public mischief. This provision criminalizes the conduct of persons who knowingly cause falsehoods to circulate, commit acts that are intended to mislead, or create or maintain a public disturbance or disorder. The section applies broadly, but can also be somewhat difficult to interpret. The fundamental principle is that the conduct must have been committed wilfully and without lawful justification or excuse." This encompasses a range of behaviours, including fabricating evidence, making false reports or disclosures, interfering with the lawful use of property, and spreading false information that is likely to endanger life or property (e.g. a hoax bomb threat). Given the broad scope of the provision, section 140(2) can be the basis for a wide range of prosecutions. For example, it is commonly used to charge individuals who call in false reports to emergency services, such as bomb threats or false alarms. Such actions can be dangerous, as they can divert emergency services away from genuine emergencies, and can cause panic and fear in the public. However, the wide ambit of section 140(2) has also led to concerns about its potential misuse by law enforcement and prosecutors. In particular, critics have suggested that it may be applied too broadly, and could be used to chill free expression or protest activity. For example, if a peaceful protest turns into a public disturbance, the organizers could potentially be charged under section 140(2), even if they did not direct or participate in any violence or destruction of property. To address these concerns, courts have been careful to interpret section 140(2) narrowly, and to ensure that it is only applied where there is evidence of a clear intent to mislead or cause a public disturbance. For example, in the well-known case of R. v. Kitaitchik, the court held that the use of stun guns by activists during a protest did not constitute public mischief, as the activists did not have the intention of creating a public disturbance or endangering life or property. Overall, section 140(2) is an important provision in the Criminal Code of Canada, as it serves to deter behaviour that is intended to mislead or create public disorder. However, it must be used judiciously to avoid any undue infringement on free expression or protest activity. Ultimately, the courts play a crucial role in ensuring that the provision is applied fairly and in a manner that upholds the principles of justice and democracy.


Section 140(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada pertains to the criminal offense of public mischief. The section is broad in nature, as it encompasses a range of activities that can be considered as 'public mischief'. The elements of the offense include (a) committing an act with the intention of deceiving the public, (b) causing harm or injury to someone, or (c) obstructing the course of justice or public administration. Given the gravity of the potential punishment (up to five years imprisonment), it is important to approach cases of public mischief with due consideration for the strategic implications. The first strategic consideration involves the nature of the offense. Public mischief is a criminal offense, which means that the prosecution must establish the requisite elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. This can be a challenging task, given the broad language of the section. It is, therefore, important to carefully assess the strength of the evidence and the likelihood of conviction before pursuing a case of public mischief. In some cases, the evidence may be insufficient to meet the high standard of proof required in criminal cases, and alternative strategies, such as civil litigation or regulatory action, may be more appropriate. A second strategic consideration is the potential impact of a public mischief charge on the accused. This offense can have serious consequences for individuals, particularly if they are convicted. A criminal record can affect employment, travel, and other aspects of an individual's life. For this reason, it may be advisable to explore alternative resolutions, such as diversion programs or plea bargaining, to avoid a criminal conviction and minimize the impact on the accused. A third strategic consideration is the public interest. Cases of public mischief often have broader implications for public trust, safety, and social order. The prosecutor must balance the public interest in prosecuting the individual against the need to maintain public confidence in the justice system. Furthermore, the impact of the offense on public safety may be a relevant consideration when assessing the appropriate sentence. With these strategic considerations in mind, some potential strategies that could be employed when dealing with section 140(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada include the following: 1. Investigation: Proactive investigation of potential cases of public mischief can help to identify and prevent harm to the public. Police and other authorities can gather evidence, interview witnesses, and assess the public safety implications of the behavior in question. 2. Collaboration: Collaboration between authorities, such as police, prosecutors, and other agencies, can help to ensure that the case is handled efficiently and effectively. In addition, working collaboratively can help to identify the best course of action for each specific case and ensure that the accused receives fair and appropriate treatment under the law. 3. Pre-charge diversion: Before charges are laid, diversion programs can be explored as an alternative to prosecution. A diversion program may involve counseling, restitution, community service, or other measures aimed at remedying the harm caused by the public mischief. 4. Plea bargaining: If a public mischief charge is laid, plea bargaining can be used to negotiate a lesser charge or sentence in exchange for a guilty plea. This can be a useful strategy to minimize the impact of the criminal conviction on the accused while still achieving some measure of accountability. 5. Sentencing recommendations: At the sentencing hearing, the prosecutor can make recommendations regarding an appropriate sentence, taking into account the seriousness of the offense, the harm caused, and the accused's level of remorse. In conclusion, section 140(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada is a serious offense that requires careful consideration of the strategic implications. Prosecutors must balance the interests of justice, the impact on the accused, and the public interest when assessing the appropriate course of action. Strategies such as investigation, collaboration, diversion, plea bargaining, and sentencing recommendations can be employed to achieve the best possible outcome for all parties involved.