section 553

INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

This section lists the offences for which a provincial court judge or Nunavut Court of Justice judge has absolute jurisdiction to try an accused without the accuseds consent.

SECTION WORDING

553 The jurisdiction of a provincial court judge, or in Nunavut, of a judge of the Nunavut Court of Justice, to try an accused is absolute and does not depend on the consent of the accused where the accused is charged in an information (a) with (i) theft, other than theft of cattle, (ii) obtaining money or property by false pretences, (iii) unlawfully having in his possession any property or thing or any proceeds of any property or thing knowing that all or a part of the property or thing or of the proceeds was obtained by or derived directly or indirectly from the commission in Canada of an offence punishable by indictment or an act or omission anywhere that, if it had occurred in Canada, would have constituted an offence punishable by indictment, (iv) having, by deceit, falsehood or other fraudulent means, defrauded the public or any person, whether ascertained or not, of any property, money or valuable security, or (v) mischief under subsection 430(4), where the subject-matter of the offence is not a testamentary instrument and the alleged value of the subject-matter of the offence does not exceed five thousand dollars; (b) with counselling or with a conspiracy or attempt to commit or with being an accessory after the fact to the commission of (i) any offence referred to in paragraph (a) in respect of the subject-matter and value thereof referred to in that paragraph, or (ii) any offence referred to in paragraph (c); or (c) with an offence under (i) section 201 (keeping gaming or betting house), (ii) section 202 (betting, pool-selling, book-making, etc.), (iii) section 203 (placing bets), (iv) section 206 (lotteries and games of chance), (v) section 209 (cheating at play), (vi) section 210 (keeping common bawdy-house), (vii) [Repealed, 2000, c. 25, s. 4] (viii) section 393 (fraud in relation to fares), (viii.01) section 490.031 (failure to comply with order or obligation), (viii.02) section 490.0311 (providing false or misleading information), (viii.1) section 811 (breach of recognizance), (ix) subsection 733.1(1) (failure to comply with probation order), (x) paragraph 4(4)(a) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, or (xi) paragraph 5(3)(a.1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

EXPLANATION

Section 553 of the Criminal Code of Canada outlines the jurisdiction of provincial court judges and judges of the Nunavut Court of Justice to try an individual accused of certain offenses. The section sets out a list of offenses that fall within this jurisdiction, including theft, fraud, possession of stolen property, and mischief, as long as the alleged value of the subject-matter of the offense does not exceed $5,000. Additionally, the section extends the jurisdiction of these judges to include conspiracies, attempts, and accessories to these offenses, as well as a list of other offenses such as gambling and drug offenses. The key aspect of this section is that the jurisdiction of the judge is absolute and does not depend on the consent of the accused. This means that, in cases where an individual is charged with one of the listed offenses, the trial must take place in the provincial court or Nunavut Court of Justice. It is important to note that these courts have limited sentencing powers, which may impact the severity of the punishment for offenders. Overall, Section 553 serves to ensure that certain offenses are dealt with in a timely and efficient manner by specifying the appropriate judicial body and limiting the need for consent from the accused.

COMMENTARY

Section 553 of the Criminal Code of Canada details the jurisdiction of a provincial court judge or a judge of the Nunavut Court of Justice to try an accused. The jurisdiction of these judges to try an accused for the offences listed in this section is absolute and does not depend on the consent of the accused. The offences listed in this section primarily deal with property crimes, gambling, cheating, and fraud. The first category of offences listed in this section includes theft, obtaining property by false pretences, and unlawfully possessing property or proceeds derived from the commission of an offence. These crimes are considered property crimes because they involve taking someone else's property without their consent. They are often committed out of greed or financial desperation. These offences are punishable by imprisonment and fines. The alleged value of the subject-matter of the offence must not exceed five thousand dollars. The second category of offences listed in this section includes counselling or conspiracy to commit or being an accessory after the fact to the commission of any offence referred to in the first category of offences or any offence referred to in the third category of offences. A person is guilty of conspiracy if they agree with one or more people to commit an offence and take some step towards carrying out that agreement. Accessory after the fact refers to helping someone who has committed an offence to avoid being caught or punished. These offences are considered to be serious because they involve facilitating the commission of a crime or aiding and abetting the criminal. The third category of offences listed in this section includes a range of offences related to gambling, cheating, fraud, and breach of court orders. Some of these offences relate to operating or participating in illegal gambling activity. Others relate to cheating at games of chance or defrauding the public or individuals out of money, property or other valuable goods. These offences are considered to be serious because they involve deception and dishonesty, which can have significant financial and social consequences. Section 553 is an important part of the Criminal Code because it assigns jurisdiction to provincial court judges and judges of the Nunavut Court of Justice to try certain offences. By establishing clear criteria for jurisdiction in these cases, the section ensures that accused persons are brought to trial and, if found guilty, face appropriate penalties. It also ensures that cases are heard by experienced judges who are familiar with the workings of the justice system in their respective provinces or territories. The offences listed in this section are generally considered to be less serious than those that must be tried by a superior court judge. However, they can still have a significant impact on the lives of the victims involved. Theft, fraud, and cheating can cause significant financial harm to individuals and businesses, while gambling can lead to addiction and other negative consequences. By assigning jurisdiction to provincial court judges and judges of the Nunavut Court of Justice, section 553 ensures that these offences are taken seriously by the justice system. In conclusion, section 553 is an important part of the Criminal Code of Canada because it clearly outlines the jurisdiction of provincial court judges and judges of the Nunavut Court of Justice to try certain offences. The offences listed in this section primarily deal with property crimes, gambling, cheating, and fraud. By ensuring that cases are heard by experienced judges and that accused persons are brought to trial, this section helps to ensure that the Canadian justice system operates fairly and efficiently.

STRATEGY

Section 553 of the Criminal Code of Canada provides for the absolute jurisdiction of provincial court judges to try certain offences, without requiring the consent of the accused. This has implications for both the prosecution and defence in criminal cases, and requires strategic consideration. For the prosecution, one strategic consideration is choosing whether to proceed by way of indictment or summary conviction. Offences listed in section 553 may be tried by way of summary conviction, which has a shorter time frame and less severe penalties. However, this may not always be in the best interest of the prosecution, as an accused may be more likely to consent to summary conviction and avoid a trial. On the other hand, proceeding by way of indictment allows for trial by judge alone, which may be advantageous if there is a risk of jury bias or if the prosecution has a strong case. Another strategic consideration for the prosecution is the burden of proof. Section 553 allows for the trial of certain offences without the accused's consent, but it does not affect the burden of proof, which still rests on the prosecution. Therefore, it is important for the prosecution to ensure they have a strong case with sufficient evidence to satisfy the judge's burden of proof. For the defence, one strategic consideration is whether to contest the jurisdiction of the court. Section 553 provides for absolute jurisdiction, but this may not always be clear cut depending on the specific circumstances of the case. For example, the alleged offence may have occurred outside of Canada or the accused may not have knowingly possessed property obtained from the commission of an offence. Contesting jurisdiction may also allow for other defences to be raised, such as the infringement of the accused's charter rights. Another strategic consideration for the defence is whether to plead guilty or go to trial. With the absolute jurisdiction of the court, the accused may not have a choice in whether they go to trial, but they may still be able to negotiate a plea deal with the prosecution. This may be advantageous in cases where there is a risk of a harsh sentence or where there is a lack of evidence. On the other hand, going to trial may be necessary to contest the evidence or raise defences. Overall, strategic considerations when dealing with Section 553 of the Criminal Code of Canada depend on the specific circumstances of the case, including the strength of the evidence, the burden of proof, and the jurisdiction of the court. Prosecution and defence strategies should take into account these factors to ensure the best possible outcome for their respective clients.