section 65(1)


Participating in a riot is an indictable offense punishable by up to two years in prison.


65. (1) Every one who takes part in a riot is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.


Section 65(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada criminalizes taking part in a riot. The section defines a riot as an unlawful assembly where three or more people use force or violence towards others or threats against others while being assembled with a common purpose. The common purpose may be to carry out a plan to achieve a particular goal or to intimidate others. The section acknowledges that participating in a riot is a serious offence that threatens public safety and peace. Such behaviour causes enormous social and economic harm, including property damage, physical injuries, and emotional trauma. Therefore, the Criminal Code of Canada prescribes harsh punishment for individuals found guilty of taking part in a riot. For instance, the offence is punishable by up to two years in jail for every individual who participates in the riot. The provision also eliminates any defence based on the absence of specific intent. Thus, an individual doesn't have to specifically intend to cause harm or violence. Anyone who is present and participates in the riot, regardless of whether they committed a specific criminal act, can be found guilty of the offence. Overall, section 65(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada is a vital tool in addressing unruly and violent behaviour during assemblies. It provides a deterrent effect against individuals who might otherwise be tempted to engage in worrying conduct during an assembly, which could lead to injury, damage, and disruption to the public. The law has ensured that public safety and peace are maintained and protected.


Section 65(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada is an important provision that governs the criminality of individuals participating in a riot. The Code defines a riot as an unlawful assembly of three or more people who use violence or force to disturb the peace and cause terror and mischief in the community. In essence, Section 65(1) serves to deter individuals from engaging in behavior that jeopardizes public safety and security. The gravity of this offense is highlighted by the fact that it is an indictable offense that carries a maximum sentence of two years. An indictable offense is more serious than a summary conviction offense, and it requires a formal trial in court with a judge and a jury. The onus is on the prosecutor to prove the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. What constitutes participation in a riot? Persons who are directly involved in the use of force or violence or who intentionally contribute to its cause can be found guilty of this offense. This includes individuals who incite others to participate in the riots by encouraging or urging them to commit violent acts. The behavior must be voluntary and intentionally carried out. The courts have had to interpret Section 65(1) on a number of occasions, and a review of some of these cases is instructive. In R v. Corkland, the court opined that a riot must be proven to exist for a guilty verdict to be passed. There has to be evidence of physical violence, property damage or other acts of terror for the behavior to be considered a riot. Furthermore, the accused must have had knowledge or awareness of the existence of the riot. Simply being part of a peaceful demonstration or protest that turns violent does not warrant a guilty verdict. The prosecution must demonstrate that the accused was aware of the violent nature of the protest and willingly chose to participate. Another important consideration for determining guilt is whether the behavior of the accused creates real or imminent danger to public safety and security. In R v. Pritchard, the court held that the level of violence and the danger it posed to the public had to be considered when determining whether a riot occurred. Section 65(1) serves as a deterrent to those who would be tempted to participate in riots. The threat of a two-year prison sentence would be enough to dissuade rational individuals from engaging in such behavior. The provision also helps to maintain law and order in the community by punishing those who engage in behavior that disrupts public peace. In conclusion, Section 65(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada defines participation in a riot as an indictable offense with a maximum sentence of two years. The courts have interpreted this provision to mean that the accused must intentionally participate in a riot that poses a real or imminent danger to the public and that they must have knowledge of the violent nature of the protest. The provision serves as a deterrent to potential rioters and helps to maintain public order and safety.


Section 65(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada criminalizes participation in a riot and provides for a maximum penalty of two years' imprisonment. When dealing with this section of the Criminal Code, law enforcement agencies and prosecutors must be strategic in their approach to ensure that the law is applied fairly and effectively. In this article, we will discuss some strategic considerations when dealing with this section of the Criminal Code and some strategies that could be employed. Strategic Considerations 1. Assessment of Evidence: Before initiating charges under section 65(1), the prosecutor must assess the evidence available. Proving the offense of participating in a riot requires evidence that the accused was part of a group of three or more persons who were causing a disturbance of the peace. This evidence must be clear and convincing, as the accused's liberty is at stake. Therefore, it is essential to gather all relevant evidence, such as witness statements, photographs, and videos, to support the charge. 2. Prosecution Strategy: Prosecution strategies that are effective in dealing with charges under section 65(1) include a plea bargain, taking the matter to trial, or withdrawal of the charges. A plea bargain is an agreement between the prosecutor and accused, where the accused pleads guilty to a lesser offense, and in return, the prosecutor agrees to a reduced sentence. Taking the matter to trial requires strong evidence and legal arguments to convince the judge of the accused's guilt. Withdrawal of charges is appropriate in cases where there is weak evidence or where the public interest does not warrant prosecution. 3. Public Interest: The prosecutor must consider whether pursuing charges under section 65(1) is in the public interest. This consideration takes into account the gravity of the offense, the interests of the victim, the age and character of the accused, and whether the rehabilitation of the accused is possible or necessary. The public interest considerations are essential in determining whether to prosecute or withdraw charges. 4. Pre-Trial Intervention Programs: Pre-trial intervention programs offer an alternative to traditional criminal justice processes. These programs provide support to the accused to address the underlying issues that led to their involvement in the riot. Such programs are often successful in diverting young offenders away from the criminal justice system and facilitating their rehabilitation. Strategies that Could be Employed 1. Effective Policing: Effective policing is key to preventing riots or quickly ending them once they occur. Police should have strategies in place to effectively control large crowds, including planning for necessary resources and communication strategies that will help manage crowds and avoid misunderstandings. 2. Community Engagement: Law enforcement agencies should engage with communities to foster trust and positive relationships. This will make it easier to prevent riots and enable more effective communication when a riot occurs. 3. Early Intervention by Social Services: Early intervention by social services can prevent young people from becoming involved in riots by addressing the underlying issues that lead to their criminal behavior. 4. Use of Restorative Justice: Restorative justice programs can promote the rehabilitation of offenders and promote restorative rather than retributive justice. Such approaches encourage offenders to accept responsibility for their actions and make amends to those they have harmed. Conclusion In conclusion, section 65(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada criminalizes participation in a riot and provides for a maximum penalty of two years' imprisonment. To be effective, law enforcement agencies, and prosecutors must consider the strategic considerations outlined above, including the evidence assessment, prosecution strategy, public interest, and pre-trial intervention programs. The strategies outlined above, including effective policing, community engagement, early intervention by social services, and the use of restorative justice, can help prevent riots and effectively deal with charges under section 65(1) of the Criminal Code.