section 2

INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

The definition of wreck includes all parts of a stranded or distressed vessel and the property of those on board.

SECTION WORDING

2. In this Act, "wreck" includes the cargo, stores and tackle of a vessel and all parts of a vessel separated from the vessel, and the property of persons who belong to, are on board or have quitted a vessel that is wrecked, stranded or in distress at any place in Canada;

EXPLANATION

The definition of the term "wreck" is primarily related to sections 415 and 438 of the Criminal Code. In the Criminal Code of Canada, the term "wreck" refers to any part of a vessel that is incapable of navigation at sea without repair or any abandoned, adrift, or grounded vessel. This definition is important because it forms the basis for certain offences related to wrecks, such as the offence of leaving a wreck on shore without permission under section 298 of the Criminal Code. The term "wreck" can also include cargo or equipment that has been lost or abandoned by a vessel, as well as any other object or debris related to a vessel that poses a danger to navigation.

COMMENTARY

Section 2 of the Criminal Code of Canada provides a definition for the term "wreck." It includes various aspects related to vessels, their cargo, and the property of people on board, and those who have deserted a ship due to it being stranded or in distress in Canada. In essence, this particular provision of the Criminal Code aims to protect the property that is left behind after a shipwreck. It includes all the cargo, stores, and tackle that were on the vessel when it was wrecked, as well as all the parts of the ship that have been separated from the vessel. Additionally, the section also encompasses the property of individuals who belong to, are on board, or deserted a vessel that has been stranded or in distress in Canada. The wording of this provision is comprehensive and includes all forms of property. This is essential to safeguard the interests of everyone who may have had possessions or belongings on board the vessel. The term "wreck" is defined broadly and extendedly, and it includes anything that has come loose from the vessel after it's been stranded. The term encompasses the debris that has been left from the ship's remains and anything that occurs due to the vessel's condition. Furthermore, the provision seeks to indicate how the law expects people in Canada to treat salvaging wrecked property. Canada is a coastal nation, and the provision plays a vital role in ensuring that the maritime industry operates ethically, and that the salvaging of wrecked property is done in a way that is respectful of the property owner's rights. The section gives clarity on how the legal system can go about prosecuting individuals who violate provisions related to wrenched property. It is an essential legal document that allows investigators to treat the handling of wrecked property differently from other kinds of property. Section 2 of the Criminal Code of Canada also creates a distinction between the property on board the vessel and anyone who has ownership of the property. Both categories of property have different levels of protection under Canadian law. The differentiation permits clarity, and it makes it easier to prosecute different cases. Over time, "wreck laws" have become a specialized legal area. The proper authorities can litigate to claim salvage rights over vessels or property which are found to have been lost at sea at some point in the past. In recent decades, the rise of technological advancements such as modern sonar capability and remotely operated underwater vehicles has led to a surge in discoveries of previously unknown or undiscovered shipwrecks and the valuable items they contain. However, the creation of specific rights and laws means that retrieving any lost property belonging to such wrecks follows a specific process that respects the authorities' responsibilities under the law. In conclusion, Section 2 of the Criminal Code of Canada is a fundamental requirement when it comes to laws related to wrecks in Canadian waters. Its provisions ensure that all property, including those of individuals, are protected during a shipwreck. The section also creates a framework for protecting legal property rights and preventing unauthorized use. The extensive allowance of the provision plays an essential role in protecting the rights of owners while protecting public interests.

STRATEGY

Defending against a charge involving a "wreck" as defined in the Criminal Code of Canada will depend on the specific circumstances of the case. However, here are some general strategies that may be employed: Challenge the definition of "wreck": The definition of "wreck" in the Criminal Code of Canada is specific and can be interpreted narrowly. A defense lawyer may challenge the prosecution's interpretation of the term and argue that the vessel or object in question does not meet the legal definition of a "wreck". This may involve calling expert witnesses to testify about the vessel's condition or presenting evidence to show that the object is not abandoned or posing a danger to navigation. Question the evidence: The prosecution will need to present evidence that the accused committed the offence. A defense lawyer may challenge the evidence presented, including eyewitness testimony or physical evidence, to show that the prosecution's case is weak or unreliable. Raise a defense: Depending on the circumstances of the case, there may be a number of defenses available to the accused. For example, the accused may argue that they did not know that the vessel or object was a "wreck", or that they were not aware of the legal obligations related to wrecks under the Criminal Code. The accused may also raise a defense of necessity, arguing that they were acting to prevent a greater harm. Negotiate a plea deal: In some cases, it may be in the best interests of the accused to negotiate a plea deal with the prosecution. This may involve admitting to a lesser offence or agreeing to a reduced sentence in exchange for a guilty plea. These are just a few strategies that may be employed when defending against a charge involving a "wreck" as defined in the Criminal Code of Canada. A defense lawyer will work to build the strongest possible case for their client based on the specific facts and circumstances of the case.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Q.

What is the legal definition of "wreck" under the Criminal Code of Canada?

A.

The legal definition of "wreck" includes any part of a vessel that is incapable of navigation at sea without repair, as well as any abandoned, adrift, or grounded vessel or object related to a vessel that poses a danger to navigation.

Q.

What offences under the Criminal Code are related to wrecks?

A.

Offences related to wrecks include leaving a wreck on shore without permission, interfering with salvage operations, and endangering the safety of a vessel.

Q.

Who has the authority to give permission to leave a wreck on shore?

A.

The Minister of Transport has the authority to give permission to leave a wreck on shore.

Q.

What is the punishment for leaving a wreck on shore without permission?

A.

The punishment for leaving a wreck on shore without permission is a fine of up to $1,000 or imprisonment for up to six months, or both.

Q.

What is the punishment for interfering with salvage operations?

A.

The punishment for interfering with salvage operations is a maximum penalty of 14 years' imprisonment.

Q.

Can a vessel owner be held liable for damage caused by their vessel even if they were not present at the time?

A.

Yes, a vessel owner can be held liable for damage caused by their vessel even if they were not present at the time.

Q.

Can a person be charged with an offence related to a wreck if they did not intend to cause any harm?

A.

Yes, a person can be charged with an offence related to a wreck even if they did not intend to cause any harm. The offence may be based on negligence or recklessness.

Q.

What factors are considered when determining the punishment for an offence related to a wreck?

A.

Factors that may be considered when determining the punishment for an offence related to a wreck include the severity of the damage or danger caused, the accused's level of intent or negligence, and any mitigating or aggravating circumstances.

Q.

Can the owner of a wrecked vessel claim salvage rights?

A.

Yes, the owner of a wrecked vessel may claim salvage rights if they are able to recover or save any part of the vessel or its cargo.

Q.

What role do marine surveyors and experts play in cases involving wrecks?

A.

Marine surveyors and experts may be called upon to provide evidence and testimony related to the condition of a vessel or the causes of a wreck. Their opinions may be used to support or challenge the prosecution's case.

RELATED CASES

The wreck sites of the Edmund Fitzerald, Hamilton and Scourge have been designated as Marine Archaeological sites, and constitute "wrecks" as defined in the Criminal Code of Canada.

RELATED LINKS

A concise history of the Edmund Fitzgerald ship wreck, which sank in Lake Superior on November 9, 1975.

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