section 197(1)

INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

The definition of place in this section includes any location regardless of its coverage, permanence, or exclusive use.

SECTION WORDING

197(1) In this Part, "place" includes any place, whether or not (a) it is covered or enclosed, (b) it is used permanently or temporarily, or (c) any person has an exclusive right of user with respect to it;

EXPLANATION

Section 197(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada defines the term place" in the context of Part VII of the Code, which deals with offences related to breaking and entering, as well as mischief and arson. This provision is important to understand because it expands the definition of place" to include both physical locations and any other spaces that are under the control of individuals or organizations, regardless of whether they are permanently or temporarily used, or whether any person has exclusive access to them. The inclusion of this broad definition of place" is significant because it allows the Code to cover a wide range of properties that may be vulnerable to criminal activity. For example, a warehouse or other commercial property may be considered a place" even if it is not open to the public, as long as it is accessible to a person who intends to commit an offence related to breaking and entering or mischief. Similarly, a temporary structure like a tent or a construction site may also be considered a place" under this definition. It is important to note that the definition of place" in section 197(1) is not limited to physical locations or structures alone. It also extends to virtual spaces, such as websites or computer networks that may be considered places" that are vulnerable to hacking or other forms of cybercrime. Overall, section 197(1) plays a critical role in ensuring that the Criminal Code is robust enough to address a wide range of criminal activity, no matter where it occurs. By providing a broad and inclusive definition of place," the Code ensures that all individuals and organizations are held accountable for any criminal activity that takes place within their control or under their watch.

COMMENTARY

Section 197(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada is an important piece of legislation that defines the scope of the term place" as it is used in Part IX of the Code. This section clarifies that the term place" includes any location, regardless of whether it is covered or enclosed, used permanently or temporarily, or whether any individual has an exclusive right to use it. This broad definition ensures that the Criminal Code can be applied effectively to a wide range of locations, and allows law enforcement and the justice system to protect Canadians and maintain public safety in a variety of contexts. By including both covered and enclosed locations as well as those that are not, Section 197(1) recognizes that different types of places can pose unique risks and challenges. For example, a covered location such as a building or structure may offer protection from the elements and other hazards, but it can also be more difficult to see what is happening inside and to control access. An open location, such as a park or public square, may be more visible and easier to monitor, but it can also be more exposed to the elements and other unpredictable factors. Recognizing both types of locations as places" in the context of the Criminal Code is an important step in ensuring that the law can be applied effectively in all situations. By including both permanent and temporary locations, Section 197(1) also recognizes that criminal activity can occur in a wide range of contexts, from established businesses and homes to ad-hoc gatherings and impromptu events. This flexibility allows the Criminal Code to be applied effectively in situations that may not fit neatly into traditional categories, and ensures that law enforcement and the justice system have the tools they need to respond to emerging threats and issues. Finally, by including all locations regardless of whether any individual has an exclusive right to use them, Section 197(1) recognizes that criminal activity can occur in public as well as private spaces. This is an important recognition of the fact that public spaces belong to all Canadians, and that all individuals have a responsibility to maintain public safety and respect the rights of others. By treating all 'places' equally under the law, the section 197(1) of the Criminal Code upholds fundamental principles of fairness, equity, and justice. In summary, Section 197(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada is an important provision that defines the scope of the term place" as it is used in Part IX of the Code. By including all types of locations, both permanent and temporary, covered and enclosed, and regardless of individual rights of user, Section 197(1) ensures that the Criminal Code can be applied effectively in a wide range of contexts. This provision is fundamental to the effective operation of the Canadian justice system, allowing law enforcement and the courts to maintain public safety, protect individual rights, and uphold the principles of fairness and equity that are central to our democracy.

STRATEGY

Section 197(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada is an important provision that criminal lawyers and their clients must consider in developing a defence in various criminal proceedings. This provision defines the meaning of place" and has numerous implications in the administration of justice. In this essay, we will examine some strategic considerations when dealing with this section of the Criminal Code and the strategies that could be employed. First, it is important to understand the broad definition of place" that the provision provides. The definition makes it clear that a place" is not limited to a physical location only but extends to any area, whether open or closed, and even where access to it is exclusive to a particular individual or group of persons. This suggests that charges related to places" are not limited to buildings or structures but can also include public spaces or unmarked areas where someone has a recognized right to use. Given the wide-ranging interpretation of place" under the law, it becomes critical that criminal lawyers be as precise as possible when defining the specific location of alleged offenses. Lawyers must ensure that the evidence presented to the court is sufficiently detailed to identify the exact place where the alleged crime was committed, including information on its layout, dimensions, and any distinguishing features. Another strategic consideration when dealing with Section 197(1) is the practical implications of the provision on the collection and admissibility of evidence. As noted above, the definition of place" under the law is all-encompassing, including areas where access is granted exclusively to individuals. This means that police investigations that lead to the collection of evidence within an area someone has a right to use (e.g., an individual's home) will need to comply with both the letter and the spirit of the law. Where appropriate, defence counsel can challenge the collection of evidence if it can be demonstrated that the law was not respected in gaining access to the alleged offence location. Moreover, lawyers should note that the definition of place" is not static; the meaning of a particular location can change depending on the context of the alleged offense. For example, under normal circumstances, a bus stop would be considered a public place where anyone could stop to wait for a bus. But in instances where a specific individual has been waiting at the stop for an extended period or has specifically requested a person to meet them there, it could be argued that the location has become a place" under the law. In conclusion, Section 197(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada has far-reaching implications in the administration of justice. Criminal lawyers need to be knowledgeable of the broad definition of place" under the law, its practical implications on evidence collection and admissibility, and the context-specific application to alleged offences. Employing thorough documentation, proper legal procedures, and contextual analysis can enable lawyers to construct robust defences where charges have been laid related to place".